Cost of living in Denmark varies from region to region. This guide outlines what you can expect in terms of living costs.
Dreaming of moving to Denmark from the UK? It’s easy to see why you’d consider living, working or retiring there, as the Scandinavian country regularly features at the top of the list of happiest countries in the world; with snagging the 2nd place in the latest ranking.¹ It offers vibrant city life, breathtaking countryside, mild weather and a great healthcare system, as well as an excellent standard of living.
If you’re thinking of settling down in Denmark, you’re going to need somewhere to live. As a non-resident, it can be tricky navigating the process of buying a home in a new country - particularly in Denmark, where there are rules and conditions you need to follow.
But don’t worry, as our handy guide is here to help. Read on for all the essentials you need to know about buying property in Denmark as a foreigner.
And, if you want to manage your money easily in both Denmark and the UK, check out the Wise account. Wise lets you send, spend, receive, convert and manage your money in multiple currencies – including British pounds and euros – always at the mid-market exchange rate. Wise takes the security of your money seriously – and offers secure, fast payments, along with specialist support.
Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its economy, the Danish property market remains fairly stable despite the estimates showing a decrease in prices.
According to Statista, the real estate price growth was around a modest 1%, following a sharp surge in 2021. However, the estimates show a ~9% drop in 2023, following an additional estimated 3.6% decrease in 2024.²
Despite the country’s reputation for liberalism, there are many restrictions on foreigners buying property in Denmark. It can be quite difficult, as there are many conditions you’ll need to meet. You’ll need to:³
- Have lived in Denmark previously for a period of five years or more
- Be currently working in Denmark (EU nationals only) or have a valid residence or business permit (non-EU nationals).
You’ll also need to seek permission from the Danish Department of Civil Affairs.⁴
If you meet both of these conditions, you’ll then need to choose the area you want to buy in very carefully. This is because some areas have special restrictions on foreign ownership, primarily to protect some regions (such as popular coastal regions) from being overrun by property owners from outside the country.
Don’t meet the criteria? There is another potential route to help you qualify to buy a home under the rules. You can form your own local limited company, an ApS (Anpartsselskab), which can buy the property for you.³
An EU citizen buying property in Denmark may find it tricky to buy real estate there. But for British expats, it has become really difficult now that the UK has left the European Union.
Brits are now classified as non-EU citizens, which means that you’ll need to have a visa and valid residence or business permit - as well as at least 5 years of residence in Denmark - in order to buy yourself a home there.
It won’t come as much of a surprise to you that the cost of living in Denmark and in other Scandinavian countries can be pretty high, especially compared to the UK.
The same goes for property prices, which can vary depending on the property type and where you choose to live. Opt for the city centre of vibrant Copenhagen and you’ll pay a premium, whereas buying a home on the outskirts of the small, beautiful port city of Vejle can be much more affordable.
To give you an idea of how much it could cost you to buy a property in Denmark, let’s take a look at apartment prices⁵ in and around different cities - in GBP to help you make a comparison with prices in the UK.
|Location||Flat’s price per sq.m - in city centre||Flat’s price per sq.m - outside city centre|
And, if you’re arranging your property purchase in Denmark while still in the UK, you’ll need a safe, reliable and preferably low-cost way to send over fees, deposits and other payments.
Along with the sale price of the property, you’ll also need to factor some other costs into your overall budget. Here are the taxes and fees you need to know about when buying property in Denmark:³
- Solicitor’s fee - 0.1% to 0.5% (plus 25% VAT)
- Registration fee - 1,400 DKK (approx. £188) + 0.6%
- Mortgage fees - 0.1% arrangement fee + fixed opening fee of approx. £265⁶
Many people hunting for property to buy in Denmark use an estate agent. It can be very useful to work with an agent with knowledge of the local property market and who can offer advice on the purchasing process.
Estate agents do charge a fee of around 0.5% to 2% of the purchase price³, but this is usually paid by the seller.
You can also start your Danish property search yourself, using an online portal or real estate listings site. You can also use a broker specialising in international property sales. Here are some places to try:
- Establish whether or not you’re eligible to buy property in Denmark, and apply for permission to the Department of Civil Affairs.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage if you need one - and investigate options for arranging the additional finance you need.
- Start searching for property online or through an estate agent or broker - it’s a good idea to arrange at least one trip to Denmark to view properties in person.
- Put in an offer on your chosen property.
- Apply for mortgages and bank loans if your offer is accepted
- Find a solicitor - to do all the necessary legal work and documentation for the transaction.
- The estate agent will send over reports and surveys on the property from the seller, including a house status report (tilstandsrapport) and electrical surveyor’s report (el-installationsrapport). You may also want to get additional surveys carried out for damp or construction issues.
- Sign the purchase agreement with the seller - until this point, the owner’s acceptance of your offer is not legally binding.
- Take out insurance.
- Sign the notarial deed prepared by your solicitor - this formalises the registration transfer of the property and will be sent to the Registry Court.
- Funds are transferred, and you’ll get the keys to your new property!
According to Danish law, residents and EU citizens can cover the cost of a property purchase with a mortgage of up to 80% of the total price. The minimum deposit/down payment (from your own finances) is 5%, with the rest (up to 15%) financed using a bank loan.⁷
As a non-EU resident, British expats will find the rules a little different. You should still be able to get a mortgage from a Danish bank (depending on factors like your income and credit rating) but the initial deposit required can be much higher.
Before you start viewing property in Denmark, it’s a good idea to look into mortgages first. Contact different banks to find out their requirements and mortgage offers, and get pre-approved as a lender ready to start your search.
So, there you go - all the essentials you need to know to buy property in Denmark as a foreigner.
It’s not as straightforward as in other countries, especially as a UK citizen after Brexit. But if you meet the criteria and follow the tips in this guide, you could end up with a wonderful Danish home that makes it all worthwhile.
And if you’re looking for ways to manage your finances in multiple countries, check out the Wise account. You can send and hold money in 50 currencies, and spend in 175 countries around the world using the Wise card.
- World Happiness - The World Happiness Report 2023
- Statista - Property prices in Denmark
- Global Property Guide - Buying property in Denmark
- Gov.uk - Living in Denmark
- Numbeo - Property prices in Denmark
- Online Mortgage Advisor - Danish mortgages
- Danske Bank - Guide to home loans
Sources last checked on date: 27-Mar-2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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