That quick turnover — and an accompanying price increase — can be largely attributed to an inventory shortage and little new development, especially in Oslo West, as well as low interest rates, said Vemund Thorkildsen, a partner in the Oslo real estate agency Nordvik & Partners.
“The demand is high,” Mr. Thorkildsen said. “It’s normal to sell houses and apartments after the first open house.”
Norway has a strong economy, with much of its income derived from oil and natural gas, and it recovered quickly from the 2008 global financial crisis, agents said. Since then, housing prices have steadily increased, said Carl O. Geving, the chief executive of the Norwegian Association of Real Estate Agents, with the exception of the last eight months of 2017.
After housing prices in Norway increased by 13 percent in 2016 — and even more in Oslo, where “we had an extreme market where the prices increased 23 percent,” said Christian Vammervold Dreyer, the chief executive of Eiendom Norge, a national association of real estate brokerages — new restrictions were put in place.
In January 2017, “the government tightened banks’ ability to give loans,” Mr. Dreyer said, capping them at five times the borrower’s income. Consequently, the market cooled and housing prices fell across the country. This was especially so in Oslo, he said, noting that “2017 was the weakest year in the Norwegian housing market since the financial crisis; the fall was strongest in Oslo, with a decrease of 10.5 percent.”
Since the beginning of 2018, however, prices across the country have stabilized and are no longer declining, agents said. “In the first quarter, we had a major increase in Oslo housing prices,” Mr. Dreyer said.
Still, “Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway, has signaled that the interest rate on housing loans will be raised, and new housing construction is expected,” Mr. Geving said. “There’s uncertainty about how much these factors will affect housing prices during the year.”