File photo: Helena Landstedt / TT
Almost all the parliamentary parties are engaged in talks to solve the housing shortage. File photo: Helena Landstedt / TT

Left party: Let municipalities take back land from speculative builders

"When properties are to be sold... it's good for them to be given the right to be the first buyer"
7:14 min

The Left party want to give municipalities more control over privately-owned land, in an effort to address the housing shortage that many Swedish municipalities report that they are facing.

The party is participating in a series of discussions between the Social Democratic and Green-led government and the opposition aimed at coming up with solutions to the housing shortage.

Nooshi Dadgostar, the Left party's spokesperson on housing policy, told Swedish Radio News that municipalities should be able to reclaim land from developers who are not building on the land.

"We see that today there is a lot of land out in the municipalities, which could be built upon. The problem that's arisen now is that the construction companies are buying up the land, hoarding it and waiting for it to appreciate, with the aim of speculation. Which means that building gets delayed," said Dadgostar.

Land issues will be an important part of today's discussions with the finance minister, Magdalena Andersson (Social Democrat).

The Left party also wants to give municipalities the right of first refusal when it comes to land that is up for sale. Municipalities have had this right in the past, but it was taken away in 2010, partially because municipalities made so few purchases. But the Left party believes that returning the right of first refusal to municipalities would give them control over buildable land.

"For a lot of rural municipalities, it's been a huge issue that the right of first refusal was taken away, because attractive, buildable land, now can't be built upon in the way that the municipality wants," said Dadgostar.

The Left party's priority is to create more housing that can be rented at inexpensive rates, and so they want municipalities that produce land for the construction of rentals to be rewarded with state grants.

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