Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is so concerned that its Icelandic staff are unable to afford property in the capital, Reykjavik, that it is building an apartment block so that they have somewhere safe and affordable to live. 60 per cent of the Icelandic population live in Reykjavik, and prices increased by 14 per cent in 2016, making housing unaffordable for many locals.
The building, which comprises 36 flats, will be available from the summer and the company will make the apartments available to its employees to rent. The smallest of the fully furnished flats is estimated to be available for a monthly rent of ISK 100k (approximately £730), which is much more affordable than other available housing in the city.
Tourism is among the reasons for high rents according to Ikea’s CEO, Thorinn Ivarsson, who hopes that greater housing security would produce happier and more productive qualified staff. The average one bedroom flat in Reykjavik’s city centre currently rents for around ISK 175k per month (£1,260).
While staff at Ikea will have priority when the flats become available, if any remain unoccupied it is thought they will be offered to staff at a new Costco supermarket being built close to the Ikea store, or possibly to students.