The Co-operative Housing Federation of Norway (NBBL) was founded in 1946. After World War II Norway was faced with major challenges of reconstruction in all sectors of society, one of which was a severe shortage of housing.
Broad political consensus secured a housing policy relying on a division of responsibilities between three main stakeholders for its implementation:
- A state housing bank providing affordable financing
- Municipalities providing affordable land and infrastructure
- The private sector developing housing
The co-operative housing movement became the largest single agent, developing, organising and distributing affordable housing units to low and middle income groups.
The strategy proved to be a success, not least due to the enabling environment provided by easy access to affordable financing and land. A relatively equal social distribution of adequate housing was achieved with reasonably low public expenditure. In many ways, development of the housing sector reflects the positive development in Norwegian society as whole.
Today the situation for the co-operative housing associations has changed radically. No longer a primary implementing instrument in a long-term housing strategy, the co-operative housing associations operate in a free and unrestricted market, competing with other businesses in all areas.
Co-operative housing associations continue to offer a wide range of housing-related services. In addition to the core business areas of property development and management, the upgrading and renewal of existing housing stock is extensive. Areas of development are improved accessibility and better energy efficiency in the existing housing stock.