The Norwegian State Housing Bank's role
The Norwegian State Housing Bank is the main agency implementing Norwegian housing policy on the national level.
There are three principle agents which cooperate in providing housing for the Norwegian population; the National Government, municipal authorities and private firms and organizations.
The main features are as follows:
- The government and the parliament determine the national housing policy goals, the legislative and the financial framework.
- The Norwegian State Housing Bank (NSHB) is the implementing agency and provides loans, grants and guidance as well as initiates new development and research.
- The municipalities plan and enable the building and rehabilitation of housing, and are responsible for ensuring that the disadvantaged have access to adequate and good housing.
- Private individuals own, build and manage the housing stock.
Stability in the housing market and the building industry, as well as the provision of adequate housing for the entire population, is dependent on the cooperative efforts of these agents.
The Norwegian State Housing Bank
Although this distribution of roles remains, a shift has nevertheless taken place towards greater emphasis on social aspects of housing policies, deregulation of the markets and decentralisation. The emphasis is more on targeting people with special housing needs and less on supply-side measures.
The primary aim of the Norwegian housing policy is to supply adequate and secure housing for all. Many people need support in order to find and retain adequate housing. This is both the case for individuals with special needs as well as those who experience financial difficulties in entering the housing market. Our job is to assist the municipalities, who are our most important customers, in providing a comprehensive solution for those needing assistance in the housing market. By using or combining our start loan, housing allowance, and housing grant, the aim is that more people will be able to obtain their own place to live either as a home owner or a tenant.
A social housing policy knowledge centre
Strengthening and further developing the role as a social-housing policy knowledge centre is a main priority for The Norwegian State Housing Bank. The NSHB has created several social-housing networks so that municipalities are able to transfer knowledge. We have played a special role in the implementation of the National Strategy for preventing and Combating Homelessness. The promotion of good housing for immigrants and refugees is also given high priority. Increasingly, we work cross-sectorally with other public agencies at State and municipal level to bring about good solutions for disadvantaged groups.
Improved quality of housing
We work closely with local authorities and the private sector to improve the quality of housing on the housing market in general, which is dominated by direct and indirect (co-operative) home ownership (77%). It does this through financial incentives, working with public authorities to develop suitable standards and building skills and participating in negotiations and discussions with all parties involved in development.
Particular weight is given to the promotion of universal design and environmentally friendly solutions in the housing and building sectors. NSHB also works to promote aesthetic housing and building design.