What does it cost to live in Stockholm?

Published May 2016 in collaboration between Invest Stockholm and The Local.

The Nordics have a reputation for their high standard of living – but how much does it actually cost to live in Stockholm compared to other cities? The price tag may not be as steep as you think, stats reveal.

Everyone knows housing is hard to find in Stockholm. Housing queues are long and due to high demand, prices for purchasing or subletting have climbed.

But that doesn’t mean they’ve sky-rocketed, and that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find affordable housing. Far from it. Actually, according to the worldwide cost of living survey published by The Economist, the cost of living in Stockholm is not that bad. As a Swede might say, it’s “lagom” – just right.

The survey analyses a range of factors including individual prices for more than 160 products and services, including food, clothing, household supplies, home rent, schooling, transport, utilities, and recreational costs.

Stockholm tied with Wellington, Nouméa, and Seattle for cost of living in the index, sharing 42nd place for “most expensive city”. London, New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, LA, Oslo, Helsinki, Frankfurt, and Houston are just a few of the cities which hit harder on residents' wallets.

Nils, 30, a Swede who lived in both London and Paris before deciding to settle in Stockholm, says he gets much more bang for his buck at home.

"I find myself having a higher quality of life in Stockholm than when I was living in London and Paris," he says.

Expatisan, another site that ranks the cost of living across the world, lists Stockholm as 13th in Western Europe (out of 69) - far cheaper than cities like London and New York but also more affordable than neighbours Copenhagen and Oslo.

"Rent is much higher in London's zone one than the inner city of Stockholm - and the buildings are of better quality in Stockholm, too,” says Nils. “And in overcrowded London, transport costs about double what it does here in Stockholm."

Nils admits that eating out is more expensive in Stockholm, and he doesn’t dine at fine restaurants quite as often as he did in other cities. But he says that in general the city is more affordable – and Stockholm's airy atmosphere and nearly-perfect infrastructure also makes living and working quite simply a better experience.

"In Stockholm nature is always nearby and the air we breathe is much better than in most big cities in Europe," he says.

Granted, 13th out of 69 doesn’t mean the city is cheap, either. But living in Stockholm is much like an investment – and it has high returns.

And while Sweden may have a reputation for high taxes, you get a lot in return – especially families. Not only citizens but residents with long-term permits are guaranteed affordable (if not free) healthcare, paid parental leave, and free education. It’s no wonder Stockholm has been rated one of the top cities for students as well.

In short, Stockholm is about quality of living. It’s not the cheapest – but it packs a punch. And when you add it all up, moving to Stockholm is a good deal.