Let’s break away from the traditional mold and talk about online listing services in Sweden (where I live).

Among the first to display listings online

Already in 1996 it was possible to search for houses on sale using Internet through the Bovision service. (The service was a spin-off from Capitex a provider of CRM tools for residential brokers. In 2006 the Finish media company Alma Media acquired Bovision.)

The Associations of Realtors make their move

In 1998, two years after Bovision’s entry, the two Swedish associations of Realtors decided to create their own listing service, named Hemnet. This was done in co-operation with the two largest brokerage firms in Sweden and two large newspapers. Within a year Hemnet was larger then Bovison. Today Hemnet is used by ‘almost’ all the 2 000 brokerage firms in Sweden and has the most traffic (by far).

Hemnet has over 1 million unique visitors every week and is among the 15 most visited Swedish sites. According to a survey done by Hemnet in spring 2007, 48% of people in the age group 18 – 70 years (approximately 3 million out of the 9 million inhabitants in Sweden) use Hemnet on a ‘regular basis’. Another survey shows that 70% of the buyers states that they found the new home on the Internet.

The next generation

For a number of years little happened in the market of listings. Then in late 2007 a new player entered the market — Booli. It was founded by Daniel Kaplan, a successfully serial entrepreneur who believes the user experience of searching for new homes could be done better.

In contradiction to Hemnet and Bovision which the brokers feed with information; Booli is a search engine crawling ‘all’ the Swedish brokerage firms sites for listings.

It’s to no surprise that this approach has caused some upset feelings in the brokerage market (especially from the owners of Hemnet).

However, there are brokers who are delighted to see developments in the area. Some even go public like the CEO of Bjurfors, one of the larger brokering firms. In this press release, he compares Booli with US services like Zillow, Trulia and UK based Rightmove.

In spring 2008 another service also saw the light, Bospindeln. Not as advanced as others but very fast and also includes homes for sale by owners.

The most recent to enter the Swedish market is Properazzi, the international search engine. However, they are just in the start up face and does not include a greater number of listings.

Example of listings

Here are a few examples on how an actual listings care displayed on the Swedish market. A house, an apartment, another apartment (which also displays the most current bid).


After an promising start with online listings in Sweden in the mid 90’s the development was slow for a number of years. But during the last 9 months more has happened on the market then ever before.

The new services have great functionality and some also great coverage, but it is a long road to take on Hemnet. However, just the presence could make it better for the consumers since the competition will put pressure on Hemnet to improve their offerings.