The blockchain challenge for Sweden’s housing and mortgage markets

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This paper investigates how blockchain technology may alter the defining mechanisms of residential real estate transactions in Sweden. It departs from the assumption that blockchain applications do not merely change complex socio-economic, organisational and governance arrangements of mature housing and mortgage markets. Rather, they may trigger resistance among incumbents in the current organisational model, which will drive incremental change. This analysis shows that housing transactions in Sweden are long and complex endeavours, underpinned by exclusivity, uncertainty and information inequalities. A public-private consortium led by Lantmäteriet – a Swedish government agency – has pioneered the use of blockchain technology for the conveyance of a house to address these deficiencies. This project has not moved beyond the proof-of-concept phase, while the socio-technical organisation of transactions has evolved. Insights from institutional and evolutionary approaches help conceptualise how technologically induced and qualitatively different structures and functional effects may change the way housing and mortgage markets will work, thereby highlighting both disruptive potentialities and limitations of blockchain applications for the legacy design underpinning the current Swedish housing transaction system. Following a forensic empirical approach, this paper dissects the organisational architecture, key practices and the linked network of actor groups running Sweden's property and mortgage markets. Results illustrate that understanding concrete blockchain-induced changes and their unintended consequences requires closer scholarly attention at the scale of actor networks, the types of knowledge and technologies, and the micro-geographies in which they are embedded. Such in-depth understanding enables better-informed assessments of the blockchain challenge for complex housing and mortgage markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1569-1585
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number8
Early online date17 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the National Research Fund (FNR), Luxembourg under Grant “Applications of Blockchain Technology in Land Administration Systems” (ABTLAS), 13275702.


  • blockchain
  • sweden
  • housing market
  • residential real estate transactions

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