From modest beginnings in 1929, OBOS has become the largest Nordic cooperative building association. Today OBOS is owned by its 330.000 members, most of them in the Oslo-area.
In recent years, OBOS has set up regional officies in several of Norway’s biggest cities, and it is now in the process of becoming a nationwide housing organisation.
The companys objectives through all these years, have been to make housing available to members, and to manage housing cooperatives and condominium associations.
OBOS was founded on the principles that members should contribute through savings, housing should be offered to members at cost, down payments should be covered by contributions from each individual member; and that housing should be of ordinary but good standard with modern fittings.
Wanted to improve housing conditions
In the 1920s, Oslo experienced a major housing shortage. In 1929, following the lead of Swedish construction workers who had formed a savings company to acquire housing, members of the Oslo construction workers’ union formed what was to become OBOS - Oslo Bolig og Sparelag (Oslo Housing and Savings Society). Its purpose was to improve city housing conditions and to ensure continous production of housing through a members’ organization, as opposed to public housing construction.
A driving force for housing development
From 1935, OBOS cooperated with the municipality of Oslo, and after the second world war it became a driving force for housing development in Oslo. The municipality provided vacant sites at a reasonable price, and, in return bought a quarter of the completed housing projects for those in greatest need. In 1946, the Norwegian State Housing Bank was founded, which, for most people, made buying their own home possible for the first time, and led to large scale housing construction. Between 1950 and 1960, OBOS developed projects with around 20,000 homes - the largest number in any decade.
Has built 100 000 homes in Oslo
To date, OBOS has built more than 100,000 homes, most of them in the Oslo area, representing a quarter of Oslo’s housing stock. Initially, mostly apartment blocks were built, but more recently the proportion of small, detached and terraced houses has increased significantly. The homes are organized into more than 400 associated cooperatives managed by OBOS, which also offers services, maintenance and renovation.
Manages over 144 500 homes
Through two subsidiaries, OBOS manages more than 2 000 cooperatives and condominiums. In total, the OBOS Group manages manages over 144,500 homes and apartments. Of these, more than 68,000 are located in housing cooperatives aliated with OBOS. OBOS also owns 900 rental apartments. The OBOS Group included 18 wholly-owned subsidiaries, employing more than 1 000 people.
Buying and selling homes
We sell new homes through our real estate company OBOS Eiendomsmeglere. Second-hand homes in OBOS-affiliated housing cooperatives are sold through either this company or through other external estate agents. In connection with selling and buying apartments in housing cooperatives affiliated with OBOS, the members exercised their pre-emption right in 25 per cent of the cases. In 2012 OBOS started the building of 1 018 new homes.
Exposed to the free marked
OBOS’ role has changed since the Norwegian housing market was deregulated in the 1980s. From being a body that carried out public housing policy, the organization today is now exposed to competition and works under the same basic conditions as the rest of Norwegian business and industry.
Many advantages for the members
OBOS is now investing considerable sums in vacant sites and housing projects. It is leveraging its financial strength and market dominance to negotiate on behalf of its 330 000 members to get them advantages such as cheaper electricity, insurance, telecommunications, petrol, cable TV as well as good offers on cultural happenings and home products. In addition, our members have access to more than 80 000 homes in a large and varied second-hand housing market.