"A 'touchdown' in the Swedish housing prices is coming and I do not see how it can be avoided. We only need to be able to adjust the balance sheet afterwards," former finance minister Anders Borg, who now advises the investment company Kinnevik and the global bank Citi, said in a speech at a bank conference, as quoted by Dagens Industri.
"To prevent a drastic slowdown, we would need a liberalization of the Swedish housing market to happen at such a pace and at such vast proportions that it would be impossible to implement. Debts have already grown too big," he said, forecasting a collapse within five years.
Sweden's swelling housing problems were dramatically exacerbated by last year's migrant crisis, whereupon the Nordic country took in over 160,000 asylum seekers. The government estimates that the housing shortage necessitates the construction of 250,000 new homes, whereas the public housing organization SABO indicates the need for a jaw-dropping 426,000 new homes in a country of less than 10 million people. A recent survey of the housing market, performed by the National Housing Board, found that 240 of Sweden's 290 municipalities suffer from a shortage of housing.
Earlier this year, a number of top trade union bosses and senior politicians, including Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, came under fire for supposedly jumping the apartments queue to bypass the wait. In January, Swedish trade union giant Kommunal, which also owns several properties in the capital, was accused of renting out its apartments to labor movement bosses while refusing to release them to the public housing queue.