House Hunting in Sweden: A Sauna-Topped Water Tower Near Stockholm

This four-bedroom house is a renovated 108-foot water tower in Vaxon, an island in the Stockholm Archipelago, about 35 minutes east of central Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The brick tower was built in 1923 at one of the highest points in the area for drinking water supply and was used as a reserve until 1989, said Jan Tivenius, a representative of Residence-Christie International-Real Estate, which has a list.

The current owners bought it in 2000 and turned it into a seven-story house with an electric sauna on top that looks like a lantern. The property, about a third of an acre in a hilly park with pine trees, has significant revenue potential, said Tivenius. to rent a garage in a separate wooden A-frame cabin.

An unpaved road ends at the hill to the main entrance of the tower, which opens onto the combined kitchen, living room and dining room, with 16-foot ceilings and oak herringbone floors. The circular brick walls are lined with large arched windows. A second entrance at the back provides access to a wooden deck.

The base of the tower has two concentric walls – an inner circle with an outer aisle around it – a configuration that was likely intended to provide additional support for the water tank above, Tivenius said. The hallway provides space for a closet, bathroom and office corner, as well as a wooden staircase to the upper floors.

The second floor has three bedrooms, a bathroom and a storage room. Porthole-style windows provide light.

The main suite and another bathroom occupy the third floor, where the tiled floor has a glass cut to see below.

The fourth floor is an open space that the owners have used differently as a music room, TV room and guest house. The fifth and sixth floors were the water tank. a floor now separates the two. The fifth floor is used for storage and the sixth floor has a bathroom and computer room to accommodate telecommunications equipment.

The property is located next to a preschool on the east side of Vaxon, which stretches about two miles from end to end and offers an active harbor, as well as many shops and restaurants. The island is part of the municipality of Vaxholm, a Baltic archipelago consisting of 70 islands and about 5,000 inhabitants. A series of bridges connect the islands with central Stockholm. the bus from Vaxon takes about an hour. The ships also transport tourists to Vaxholms Kastell, a huge fortress island first built in the 16th century to defend Stockholm.

After a drop in 2017 and 2018, house prices in Sweden are rising again. Prices rose 7.5 percent last year in 2019, a record high, according to a report by Nordea, a major Scandinavian bank. The government agency Statistics Sweden reported an overall price increase of 6 percent for one- and two-bedroom buildings, and a 10% increase in holiday prices.

This growth is almost entirely driven by demand for homes as opposed to condos and other apartments, said Susanne Spector, an economist and chief analyst at Nordea. As in many other markets around the world, the pandemic has shifted buyers’ priorities to real estate with space in the garden and space to work remotely, he said.

The supply of houses is limited, as “the normal rotation of the elderly moving from their homes to the city centers has been interrupted, as people have to stay at home,” he said.

Unlike most other European countries, Sweden relied on voluntary measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, instead of imposing strict lock-in measures. As of April 2, the country had reported 813,191 cases of Covid-19 and 13,498 deaths. The excessive mortality rate in 2020 was significantly lower than in most European countries, but higher than in its Scandinavian neighbors.

However, consumer confidence continued to grow, further fueling price increases. Many households feel good about buying, Ms Spector said: “Household wealth increased during 2020 – it was a very good year for households as a whole. “Most people have kept their jobs, interest rates are low and the stock market is booming.”

The competition for homes is so fierce that, in the first month of 2021, competitive wars raised sales prices by an average of 8%, prompting, according to Erik Holmberg, market analyst for Hemnet, a Swedish import website. In February, the average time in the home market reached an all-time low of 18 days, he said.

Camilla Eggenberger, a Swedish sales supervisor for Fantastic Frank, said that in her 33 years on the market, she had never seen such a big difference between the demand for homes versus apartments. Everyone wants a piece of land, he said.

“The Swedish people are known to be very concerned about how they live,” he said. “We spend a lot of our income on our homes. Now more than ever people cocoon, and I think they spend even more money on their homes. “

In greater Stockholm, with a population of about 2.4 million in the metropolitan area, the housing market is extremely strong. “It’s really crazy,” said Tiwenios. “Prices have risen 15 to 20 percent in one year.”

In the suburbs around the city, homes typically range from an average of 10 to 15 million Swedish kronor ($ 1.14 million to $ 1.72 million), depending on the region, he said. Anything cheaper than this would require a major overhaul. The most exclusive properties cost between 15 and 20 million kronor ($ 1.72 million to $ 2.29 million), while the coastline usually costs close to 35 million ($ 4 million), he said.

Apartments in central Stockholm average about 100,000 kronor per square foot, or $ 1,060 per square foot, he said.

Foreign buyers make up a small portion of homeowners in Sweden. In 2020, Statistics Sweden reported that 37,979 holiday homes were foreign-owned – about 6% of the total. Norwegians accounted for about a third of these landlords, closely followed by Germans and Danes, at 27% each. Another 2.2% belong to Swedes living abroad.

In Stockholm, less than 1 percent of holiday homes are foreign.

Ms Eggenberger said her non-resident buyers were often diplomats or Swedish citizens returning to the country after working elsewhere for many years “with a lot of money to spend”.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Sweden. It is usually not necessary to hire a lawyer – the seller’s agent handles everything in the transaction, said Mr. Tivenius.

In greater Stockholm, agent supply may vary, but in homes the average is usually about 1.5 to 2 percent, he said.

Swedish; Swedish krona? 1 crown = $ 0.11

Buyers pay a stamp duty of 1.5% of the purchase price. It only applies to houses and not to apartments, Ms Eggenberger said.

The annual property tax on this home is about SEK 8,500 ($ 970).

Jan Tivenius, Residence-Christie’s International Real Estate, 011-46-70-617-96-06; christiesrealestate.com

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