Why is Norway so expensive?

Norway is a beautiful country. It has some of the most scenic landscapes and picturesque towns in Europe.

  • But why do so many people say that Norway is incredibly expensive? 
  • And why are there so many articles about why Norway costs so much? 

As it turns out, there are several reasons why living in Norway can be expensive – from the high cost of rent to the exorbitant prices for groceries and even petrol! 

Let’s explore these eight reasons why Norway costs so much more than other places.

Norway is expensive because of its high cost of living, housing costs are exceptionally high, and Norway has a healthy economy with low unemployment rates, which means there’s demand for higher wages than in countries struggling economically.

The cost of living in Norway is high because goods and services are expensive.

Gas Station in Norway

Certain items, such as groceries, electricity bills, and petrol prices, tend to be higher than in other countries because the price for these commodities on international markets has increased substantially over the years. When a product’s global demand goes up, its price increases too since producers can charge more for it.

This is why SwedenDenmark, and Norway have seen their living costs increase higher than many other European countries.

Petrol prices in the Nordic region are among the highest in Europe because taxes on petrol are considerably high – around 60% more expensive per liter than oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Norway also has one of the highest effective tax on gasoline in Europe, at around US$2.85 per gallon.

A recent study by Statistics Norway revealed that prices for goods and services were about 17% higher than average E.U. levels. For example, a pack of cigarettes is much more expensive in Norway – at around US$15 for one group.

While the cost of living in Norway is high, it’s worth noting that salaries are also higher than average.

The cost of living in Norway is high because rents are expensive.

rent in norway

The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment was at NOK 17,500 (around US$1,950.00) last year – and this figure has increased by nearly 30% since 2011.

Norway’s housing market is very tight; there simply isn’t enough space for everyone to live.

The biggest problem is that the government’s housing strategy focuses on building more affordable homes than high-end properties. Still, these new homes are often not in desirable locations and end up being too expensive for many people who can afford them.

Housing prices have also risen due to high demand and low supply, so you need to be well-paid or have a large deposit to rent a home.

Norway’s leading high street areas are cashless, which is why it can seem expensive.

Credit cards can’t always be used in shops for small purchases because they usually charge an extra fee.

If you have a Norwegian bank account and want to use your card in shops that are not part of the cashless system, then you’ll need to pay with PINs.

Norway is introducing contactless payments for these small transactions, but this won’t be available until 2020 and will likely be expensive.

A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that Norway was one of the most expensive countries in Europe for renting property.

The other Nordic countries were also on this list, with Denmark coming second behind Norway when it came to housing costs as a percentage of household income.

In comparison, the U.Kand Germany had proportionately lower housing costs for renters.

The high cost of rent is why Norway was ranked as one of Europe’s most expensive countries to live in by a recent study from UBS Bank.

UBS found that OsloBergen, and Trondheim were among the cheapest cities to buy a property and some of the most expensive places to live.

Another reason why Norway is so expensive is because it has a healthy, robust economy and low unemployment levels (at around just over four percent).

This means that there’s strong demand in the job market, which puts pressure on wages – employers can afford to pay higher salaries than a company in a country with an economy that’s struggling.

Goods and ServicesAverage Cost
Average Salary$5,500
Residential property$655,000
Public UniversitiesFREE
Petrol prices$2.025 per liter

Some Examples of Goods and Services Prices in Norway

What is the average salary in Norway?

Norway’s average salary has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Norway now offers citizens an excellent income with their gross wage averaging $5,500 per month and net wages at about $4,000 monthly, which is more than double what it was just a year ago in 2020.

How much does a house cost in Norway?

House cost in Norway

The Norwegian capital has seen a rapid increase in property prices over the past few years. For example, one residential lot that was worth 1 million kroner last year is now valued at 5.9 million (US$655,000) this year- an almost fivefold difference!

The average price per residential property in Norway’s capital Oslo is approximately 10% higher. This rise can likely be attributed to increased demand for properties, the rising cost of living, and lower interest rates on loans, making homes more affordable and accessible.

How much does education cost?

The Norwegian government has a policy that citizens of any country can attend one of their public universities without paying tuition fees, but this is not the case in other countries.

The Scandinavian nation’s policies for higher education are somewhat different than those found elsewhere around the world. The most notable difference would be Norway’s decision to offer free college across its entire university system – regardless of where you’re from or what your bank account looks like!

How much does healthcare cost?

Norway’s healthcare system is the envy of many countries, with Norway spending $6,000 per person and ranking fourth globally. The United States spends nearly two times as much on health care at $10,000 per person.

How much does a car cost in Norway?

driving in norway

The cost of a car in Norway depends on the make and model, but for an average-priced family sedan, you can expect to pay at least NOK 370,000 (around US$60,000).

How much does gas cost per liter?

Norwegian petrol prices are among the highest across Europe, with a liter costing around US$ 2.025.

Food and DrinksAverage Cost
Big Mac$9.87
Cup of coffee$3.34
Glass of wine$5.56
Bag of chips$3

Some Examples of Food and Drinks Prices in Norway

How much is a Big Mac in Norway?

The average price of a Big Mac in Norway is NOK 89.000 (around US$9.87).

How much is Coke in Norway?

The average price of Coke in Norway is NOK 22.900 (around US$2.54).

How much does a beer cost?

The average price of a beer is NOK 90.000 (around US$9.98).

How much is a cup of coffee in Norway?

The average price of a cup of coffee is NOK 30 (around US$3.34).

How much is a glass of wine in Norway?

The average price of a glass of wine is NOK 50 (around US$5.56).

How much does a bag of chips cost in Norway?

The average price of a bag of chips is NOK 27 (around US$3).


What are some reasons why Norway costs more than other countries?

Norway is expensive because rents are so high, the economy is strong, and unemployment levels are low (which means there’s a lot of competition for jobs).

What do people who live in Norway think about why it’s so expensive?

Many Norwegians don’t see their country as being more expensive than other nations – they point to a strong economy, low unemployment rates, and subsidized healthcare as reasons why their country is not so expensive.

What are some other examples of things that cost more in Norway than elsewhere?

Cigarettes, alcohol, and meat all tend to be quite expensive in Norway.

Is Norway expensive for tourists?

Not exactly – but it can be expensive to stay in hotels, eat out and go shopping if you’re not careful with your money.

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