Author: María Kristín Jónsdóttir

When an earthquake in Chile reveals a solution for the housing crisis in Iceland

Architect Rafael Campos de Pinho

In the worst housing crisis of the last 50 years, home ownership in Iceland has decreased by more than 10% in a decade. Just before the 2008 crash over 86% of homes nationwide were owned by their residents. Since 2012 the rate has been floating around 78%. More people are renting even though buying a home is considered a priority. Besides, rent can be more expensive than monthly mortgage repayments. For those who can afford the down payment, buying is an obvious choice. However, in the current scenario saving up for a down payment is not that simple. Property prices escalate faster than purchasing power and banks aren’t lending as easily. 90% mortgage loans haven’t been around for a while, and the vacation rental industry is swallowing every reasonably located studio and one-bedroom flat. Few affordable apartments are being built and buyers have to fight over whatever is available. As a consequence, micro-flat blocks have been popping up as an affordable alternative. Tiny homes are culturally acceptable in dense cities like Hong Kong and Paris. …