One-Third of Apartments Selling Above the Asking Price

architecture downtown Reykjavík houses

About a third of apartments in the Greater Reykjavík area are selling above the asking price, with the asking price for single-family homes having risen dramatically. The average selling time has fallen by 14 days over a one-year period.

The Housing and Construction Authority

According to a report from the Housing and Construction Authority published yesterday, approximately one-third of apartments in the Greater Reykjavík area are selling above the listed price. Similarly, the average selling time is decreasing: roughly 37 days in June of this year, compared to 51 days in June of 2020. The HCA has also observed a similar trend in rural Iceland, where apartments have sold in roughly 62 days compared to 89 days last year.

Fewer new apartments are being sold above the listed price when compared to older apartments. In June of this year, 50.8% of old apartments were sold under the marked price, 16.4% were sold at the marked price, and 32.7% were sold above the listed price. 23.8% of new apartments, on the other hand, were sold under the marked price, 61.9% were sold at the marked price, and 14.3% were sold above the asking price.

Roughly 33% selling above the asking price

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Ólafur Sindri Helgason, Chief Economist with the Housing and Construction Authority, stated that, in many instances, prospective buyers have offered many millions of króna above the asking price.

“The proportion of buyers that are offering above the asking price has increased and has been increasing,” Ólafur stated. “Assets are selling quickly; the average selling time continues to decrease; and the supply of real-estate on the market is decreasing, with a 60% contraction over a one-year period.”

The number of registered purchase agreements in the Greater Reykjavík area has been at a record high, although these numbers have begun to fall below the numbers recorded in 2007. A total of 7,432 purchase agreements were registered during the first half of 2021, compared to a total of 4,915 during the same time last year. (In 2007, there were 6,622 registered purchase agreements.) “But if we look at the first six months of the year, there is still a 50% increase in the number of purchase agreements compared to 2020,” Ólafur stated.

Interest in detached, single-family homes has been especially high, which likely owes to historically low interest rates: “The cost of single-family homes has been rising dramatically and has far exceeded the price of real-estate in apartment buildings. We’re talking a 25% increase between July 2020 and July 2021, compared to a 16% increase among apartments.

Individuals have also begun to look to rural areas: “Some have begun to look for real-estate on the outskirts of the capital area, given the dramatic rise of single-family homes.”

Housing security improving

According to the report, housing security is improving among residents and so are household finances. In surveys conducted by the HCA in collaboration with Zenter, the number of respondents who state that they are experiencing housing security totaled 91.9% in May of 2021, as compared to 90.2% in June of last year.

As noted by the authors of the report, leaseholders (renters) have seen the biggest change in attitude: In June of 2019, 51% of leaseholders stated that they experienced housing security, compared to 66% this year.

COVID-19 in Iceland: 7% of Icelanders 16 Years and Older Unvaccinated

Roughly 100 people have been vaccinated per day in the Greater Reykjavík area since July 1, including approximately 500 pregnant women. 7% of Icelanders 16 years and older are yet to be vaccinated.

“The occasional few who dragged their feet”

After the conclusion of the mass-vaccination campaign at the Laugardalshöll sports arena on July 1, roughly 100 people have been vaccinated per day in healthcare centres in the Greater Reykjavík area. Speaking to Mbl.is this morning, Ragnheiður Ósk Erlendsdóttir – Head of Nursing at the Capital Area Healthcare Centre (Heilsugæslan) – stated: “These are primarily Icelandic students arriving from abroad, including those occasional few who had, up to this point, dragged their feet.”

The vaccination of pregnant women began on July 29, with approximately 500 women having received jabs. “I think that’s a pretty good proportion, given that there are between 2,500 and 3,000 births in Icelander a year,” Ragnheiður remarked. “Teachers and school staff have been receiving booster shots since early August, and we hope to finish as soon as possible, considering that a new school year is about to begin.”

Booster shots for Janssen recipients to begin Monday

On Monday, healthcare workers will begin administering booster shots to those 53,290 individuals who received the Janssen vaccine and who have not been infected with COVID-19. These individuals can expect to receive an invitation today and will either be offered the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Children between the ages of 12 and 15 will be vaccinated at the Laugardalshöll sports arena on August 24 and 25. Parents who accept jabs on their behalf will be asked to accompany their children and to provide informed consent. Approximately 35,000 vaccine doses will be required to fully vaccinate the entire age group. As noted by the Ministry of Health on August 10, given the supply of Pfizer vaccines and the delivery schedule over the coming weeks, fully vaccinating the entirety of the age group in September should be possible.

According to Covid.is, 86.3% of individuals 16 years and older have now been fully vaccinated, 6.6% have received one dose, and roughly 7% have not been vaccinated.

At least 130 new infections

130 new domestic COVID-19 infections were reported yesterday, 91 of those infected were not self-isolating. Thirty-two COVID-19 patients are currently in the hospital, including eight in emergency care. A total of 1,842 individuals are self-isolating and a further 920 are isolating awaiting results of PCR tests. 1,332 are in quarantine with an active infection.

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In 2002, Baltasar Kormákur stood on the red carpet in San Sebastian in Spain. He was dressed in his best suit and smiling at the cameras, having just sold the distribution rights to The Sea to America and the UK. It was the biggest distribution deal that any Icelander had signed for a single movie. He was 36 years old. In demand – and miserable.

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Parliamentary Elections: Early Voting Begins Today

According to a presidential letter published yesterday, the formal dissolution of Parliament will occur on September 25 and elections will be held on the same day. Pre-election voting begins today.

Pre-election voting stations to open August 23

In a letter to Parliament published yesterday, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced that – as per the Prime Minister’s proposal – Parliament will be dissolved on September 25 and elections will take place on the same day.

In accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act to the Althing, which mandates that pre-election voting “shall commence as soon as possible after the election date has been advertised but not earlier than eight weeks before election day,” early voting began this morning at the offices of the District Commissioner of Greater Reykjavík.

Speaking to Iceland Review, a service representative with the District Commissioner confirmed that early voting will take place at DC offices today and next week, that is, until pre-election voting stations are opened in the Kringlan and Smáralind shopping malls on August 23. The District Commissioners offices are located in Hlíðasmári in Kópavogur and are open between 8.20 am and 3 pm on weekdays (the offices close at 2 pm on Fridays).

COVID-19 regulations to be followed

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Sigríður Kristinsdóttir, District Commissioner of Greater Reykjavík, stated that COVID-19 regulations will apply at voting stations. Masks will be mandatory and social-distancing rules will apply. All voting equipment will be disinfected after use.

Voting applications for citizens who are self-isolating or in quarantine may be submitted five days before the day of the election.

Key issues

The key issues of this year’s general elections include the repayment of debts accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic, resolving the difficulty of funding nursing homes, ensuring the operational viability of the healthcare system (which has seen increasingly long waiting lists), whether or not to formally adopt a new constitution (as per a 2012 referendum in which a majority voted to adopt a new constitution based on a draft by the Constitutional Council in 2011), and tackling the global threat of climate change.

Earlier this year, 13 political parties registered for the upcoming elections, though a few of the smaller ones may not run. These parties include the so-called “Party of Four” (referring to the country’s four most established parties): the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, the Left-Green Party, and the Social Democratic Alliance. The two other “big” parties, the Pirate Party and the Reform Party, are also registered, along with a handful of smaller parties, including the Centre Party, the Socialist Party, and the People’s Party. Bright Future, Dawn, and the People’s Front of Iceland have all announced that they will not be running in this election.