When I moved to Gröndal in Stockholm in 1999, it was a really quiet working class neighbourhood consisting of old rental apartments owned by the municipality.
The apartments in this area were all built in the 1940s, so in about 2006, when they all needed renovating, the municipality sold almost all of the blocks in my area very cheaply, and used the money from the sales to refurbish the remaining rental apartment buildings (two of which you can see in this photograph). New facades, pipes, balconies, windows, etc.
I bought my apartment really cheaply and since then it has had the pipes replaced (a huge job in Sweden because all the sanitation pipes go down through the middle of the buildings to prevent them from freezing – one set of sanitation pipes in the kitchen, one in the bathroom), a new facade, new windows and doors, a new balcony and the installation of geothermal heating. I like living here because it is only about 20 minutes by public transport from the city centre, and because it is simultaneously so close to nature.
At the moment there is (and has been for some time) a HUGE housing crisis in Stockholm, with waiting times in the municipal rental housing waiting lists as long as 20 years (Sweden has rent control, so property developers don’t see huge profit in building and letting rental apartments). This means that many people are forced to buy, which forces the prices up. It also means that many companies can not fill jobs because people with the necessary skills and who are not from Stockholm, cannot find anywhere to stay.
Right now there is a construction boom in Stockholm, particularly in my area, with over 1 100 apartments being built here at the moment. I joke that the official bird of my area is the crane! The grumpy seagull in the photograph would probably agree (I am about 30 metres from a lake).
The apartment buildings in the background of the photograph are selling for approximately €13,143/$14,376 per square metre, which is (to me anyway) screechingly expensive. As comparison, I paid €1759/$1924 per square metre five years ago.
I am kind of sorry that my beautiful green view is disappearing but that’s progress. I have windows on three of four sides of my apartment so I still have the lake on one side and a forest on the other.
Here you can see an aerial view of the construction site (outlined), with my flat marked by the red arrow