– I really enjoy working as a nurse, and hope more people will choose the profession, Cecilie Uteng (32) tells TV 2.
She has worked as a nurse for 11 years, but admits that there is a tinge in the joy.
For the past seven she has been house hunting in Tromsø, without success. She can’t find anything she can afford.
– It hasn’t gotten any better over the years. I am alone and only have one income to support me, so it is problematic, says Uteng.
Never been more expensive
Cecilie Uteng’s basic salary is NOK 529,000. She saves money every month to get enough equity to buy a home, but finds herself coming up short.
– The last time I was in contact with the bank, I was able to get a loan of NOK 2.65 million. There are not many apartments at that price, says Uteng.
The last year’s development is also working against her, shows the nurse index for the first half of 2022.
– The development of the index shows that it has become even more difficult for normal wage earners in Norway to become homeowners, says analysis and modeling director Anders Francke Lund at Eiendomsverdi AS.
Eiendom Norge and Eiendomsverdi AS are behind the report, which measures what proportion of the sold homes a single nurse gets financing to buy.
The profession’s purchasing power is suitable for taking the temperature of property prices since the income represents a typically good Norwegian income, and is to a small extent dependent on the economic cycle, according to Eiendom Norge.
– Almost impossible
– The nurse index shows that the average nurse salary is only enough for 14 per cent of the homes in Tromsø. It is the lowest proportion in the country outside the Oslo area, says the managing director of Eiendom Norge to TV 2.
Six years ago, twice as many homes were available for nurses, explains Lauridsen.
– There is only one thing that really matters if more nurses are to enter the housing market, namely that enough of the homes that people demand and can afford are built, says Lauridsen.
The regions with the clear lowest proportion of housing within a nurse’s budget are Asker, Bærum, Oslo and Follo. In Oslo, house prices have increased by 8.1 per cent so far this year.
– Combined with the double interest rate increase at the last interest rate meeting, and most likely more to come, it is almost impossible for the single nurse to enter the housing market there, says Lauridsen.
– It is tragic
To have a chance to save enough equity, the 32-year-old is considering moving from Tromsø.
– I might have to move home to save up, says the nurse.
She says it would be sad to move away from her circle of friends in Tromsø.
– It’s not something I want, and I enjoy my job, but maybe it’s what’s needed, says Uteng.
The nurse is concerned that there are beginning to be big differences in Norwegians’ finances.
– I’m not low paid. There are people who have it worse than me, and they have no chance in the sea of getting in without help, says Uteng.
– What do you think about 30-year-olds with a medium income being dependent on help to enter the housing market?
– It is tragic, she says.
Demands a pay rise
The Norwegian Nurses’ Association believes it is serious that fewer and fewer nurses are able to obtain housing in pressured areas.
– Through the nursing index, the nurse’s salary has become a parameter measured against house prices. This is because wages remain fairly constant at the same level. It shouldn’t be like this, says union leader Lill Sverresdatter Larsen.
Larsen says that one in five nurses disappears from the health sector during the first ten years after education.
– Many state that the reason is that the salary is not commensurate with the responsibility. The challenge is that nurses cannot establish themselves with their own accommodation due to the low salary level.
The union leader demands a pay rise.
– What is needed to get more people into the housing market is to raise the nurses’ salary so that it is in line with society’s need for nurses.
Problematically high house prices
The index shows that it is particularly the central Eastland area that has problematically high house prices, says Francke Lund.
– Only 1 to 3.5 per cent of the homes in central Eastern Norway were possible for a nurse to buy until now in 2022, says Francke Lund.
In the other large cities in Norway such as Trondheim, Stavanger and Bergen, the proportion is significantly higher, 20.8, 28.5 and 23.1 per cent respectively, says Francke Lund.
– Very high housing prices can have negative consequences on the development of the economy and access to labour, says Francke Lund.