The report "It's about feelings - a study of vacant agricultural properties" examines the complexities surrounding the sale of vacant agricultural properties in Norway.
In Norway there are approximately 180 000 estates that are defined as agricultural and forestry properties and according to Statistics Norway approximately 34 500 of these are developed with houses, but are not permanently occupied. Despite the fact that very many of these uninhabited agricultural properties are empty, there is a relatively small proportion which is up for sale. Agricultural properties have a major impact upon the rural landscape as well as on the demographic and socio-cultural development in many communities. The properties are therefore of great importance in large parts of the country. That many of these properties are unoccupied can have potentially significant negative consequences. It is the expressed wish of the central authorities that the settlement potential of these uninhabited agricultural properties be better utilized.
45 percent of the owners of vacant agricultural properties state that it is totally out of the question to sell the property regardless of the price they get from a sale. This is a clear indication of the strong emotional link the owner has to the property. In addition, our analysis shows that those who use the property as a holiday home are to a lesser extent willing to sell. The property has thus both a use and a strong symbolic value.
Family connection to the property is by far the main reason that vacant properties are not offered for sale. This shows that there are emotional reasons why the property will remain in the owner’s possession. In addition, there are many who want to keep the property because they want to use it as a holiday home. Matters relating to law and regulations are of minor consideration and of marginal significance.
The project has been carried out by the Centre for Rural Research (CRR) on assignment from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The study is designed to be used as a foundation of knowledge for the formation of practical political policy that contributes to increased turnover of vacant agricultural properties.
The report is written in Norwegian, but has an English-language summary.