Home improvement

Norwegians are Europe’s biggest spenders on homes

Photo: Jess Pac / Flickr Norwegians want a “koselig” home.

Photo: Jess Pac / Flickr
Norwegians want a “koselig” home.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Norwegians lay out NOK 14,190 per person (about EUR 1,470 / $1,644 USD), on average. This equates to approximately NOK 420,000 (almost EUR 44,000 / $49,000) on a national level.

Finns and Danes rank second and third, spending NOK 12,796 and NOK 11,369 each, respectively (some EUR 1,300 / $1,500 and EUR 1,175 / $1,325). The amount per Swede is NOK 7,636 (roughly EUR 790 / $885), according to figures provided by Oslo-based construction market analysis company Prognosesenteret.

Inhabitants of Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia spend the least amount per capita. Prognosesenteret provided spending data on 19 European countries, with the Euro Area average being NOK 7,524 (roughly EUR 778 / $872).

“Constant work-in-progress”
The company’s Bjørn-Erik Øye says that the Norwegians who are most eager to improve their homes undertake this initiative “every 1.5 years,” on average, painting “something.”

“But we often define Norwegian home improvements as being a ‘continuous project’: either just finished, or in the pipeline,” he tells The Foreigner.

Top of the list of common home improvement targets are living rooms followed by kitchens and bedrooms.

Norway’s weather also means that the population spends more time indoors than other Europeans. “At the other end of the scale, we find outdoor work, with the lowest frequency regarding roofing,” says Øye.

More than eight in 10 own their homes in Norway, with 60 percent of the housing stock being large detached family houses. But while everyone is responsible for preserving the quality of their properties, only 80 percent of the Norwegian population reports that they are involved on the DIY (Do It Yourself) front—either claiming or doing. Prosperous economic conditions have made their mark.

“It’s dropped from being 90 percent five or 10 years ago,” Øye explains.

Home comforts
Norwegians are also famed for having “koselig” (“cozy,” translated literally) homes.

Norway may have entered a new economic reality with a slump in oil prices and weaker NOK exchange rates, but these factors did not affect purchases of expensive items such as consumer electronics and furniture.

2015’s sales of household electrical items resulted in a record turnover for that year. Statistics from the Consumer Electronics Trade Foundation show a 6.6 percent turnover rise year-on-year, with 2015’s year-end figure being NOK 32.9 billion (over EUR 3.39 billion / $3.8 billion).

Moreover, Norwegians bought more things to soothe both body and soul last year. “2015’s sales of furniture and interior products were up some 6 to 7% (about NOK 1 billion) on 2014’s, which was between NOK 28 and 29 billion (some EUR 2.9-3 billion / $3.25-3.33 billion),” remarks Egil Sundet, head of branch organization Norsk Industri’s furniture and interiors division.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the Feb. 19, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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