Oslo - Post Report Question and Answers
What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
There are apartments in the city (mainly an area called Frogner) and houses outside the city center (mainly in Jar, Bekkestua, and Roa). Our apartment is in an incredible location, easy walk to downtown, many restaurants and parks. It's absolutely beautiful with lots of character, tall ceilings, renovated kitchen and bathrooms. Our apartment is open, very big for city standards (around 2100 sq feet) with beautiful views, lots of light, and wonderful neighbors. Commute time to embassy is a quick 15 minutes drive or 30 minutes by public transit. - Dec 2022
Apartments and houses generally high standard - Oslo is small and not busy - so getting from one bit of Oslo to a suburb is easy. If you like to walk to everything, stay in Frogner area or down by the sea harbour ( akker brygge). You can get gorgeous houses on the ocean - depends on budget. Not much available for rent. Alot of people buy and then sell when leaving. - May 2021
We lived in a single family house in the suburbs, but many folks live in apartments downtown as well. Housing size is a little smaller, but plenty adequate. Commutes are generally easy with excellent transit. - Jan 2020
Oslo is an UNFURNISHED post. Lucky people got gorgeous, spacious apartments in Frogner/Marjorstuen area. Other people got an apartment, a single family home, a townhouse, or a duplex in the suburbs. They were all spread out and we lived among the locals.
The commute varies from a few minutes on foot to 15-30 minutes by public transportation to 1 hour of driving through traffic if you're one of those who are allowed to drive to the Embassy.
Most housing was leased, so maintenance issues were reported to GSO and the local staff had to contact the landlord and wait for the landlord to hire someone to come, which took forever and a lot of nagging on my part. My housing was very old and had numerous maintenance problems. They apparently do not check the places well enough before renting. The local staff could care less about your housing problems. The Embassy assigns whatever they can find just before you arrive regardless of your preferences. - Dec 2016
Apartments in the city, small single family houses in the suburbs - I guess what was most new to us is how many people's "single family house" is actually what we would call a condo, maybe a 3BR flat in a community that is built around a common area. These can be very family friendly but are a little hard to get used to if you are expecting a house. On the other hand, you don't have to do any yard work or snow shoveling. :) - Dec 2015
Housing is spread all over, with most expats more on the west side of the city. The embassy has apartments downtown, houses in the suburbs and some folks closer to the Oslo International School which is actually in Baerum, in the town next to Oslo, which can be 30 minutes or more away in rush hour traffic. Public transportation is very widespread and very reliable (we've laughed at the complaints after dealing with the DC Metro system!). There are regular trains, the t-bane (similar in style to the DC metro in that it is below ground in the city center and above ground further out in the suburbs), trams on the streets called Trikks, as well as busses and regular ferry routes out across the fjord! Our commute averaged 30 minutes, some walk 10 minutes to work and others take longer as they combine different transportation options. Driving is not as common because there is limited parking in the city (especially around the Embassy) and it can take far longer since you yield to pedestrians and cyclists and the streets have more volume than they were really built to handle for the most part. Actually, if you're a bicyclist, that is a common and great option that may be faster than anything else. And yes, people ride them rain or shine and switch to studded snow tires in winter for bikes too... - Jun 2015
Mostly apartments, generally much smaller than in the USA. A few houses on the outskirts of town, but these are VERY expensive. There are lots of different locations to choose from. The west side of town (Frogner, Bislett) is where the embassies and a lot of expats/well-to-do folks live, and there are lots of gourmet shops and restaurants. On the eastern side (Grunerlokka, Torshov), it is more bohemian and younger, with more bars and artsy stuff. Gronland is very multicultural, with tons of ethnic food stores. Apartment rents do not vary much between areas, maybe within 1000 NOK/month or so at most. The market for flats is tight. Going prices are about 12000 NOK (just over $2000) per month for a 1 BR apartment of about 50-60 m2. Each additional BR adds about 3000-4000 NOK to that. Landlords can be reluctant to lease flats to foreigners. Usually, landlords will have a sort of open house ("visning" in Norwegian) to show the available unit, and interested parties will put their name on a list from which the landlord can choose. The criteria used by the landlord is generally arbitrary, and foreigners can be low on the pecking order, so it might take a few visits before you get a place. If you don't have an identity number or bank account ready, it can be A LOT harder. Electricity costs depend a lot on how new the apartment is. Older flats tend to have higher ceilings that result in higher power bills. My flat averaged around 500 NOK/month, but it was very efficient. Commute time from the locations mentioned to the center is 20 minutes or less by bus or tram. I usually walked to work in about 20-25 minutes. - May 2013
Most people live in town and are able to walk or take the tram to work. The Oslo International School is located in a suburb of Oslo. We leave near the school, and it takes about 30 minutes to drive in/ 45 minutes by bus. There is a rush in both am/pm (after 7:45 am and after 3:45 pm). - Aug 2011