Building statistics

Updated: 19 January 2023

Next update: 9 February 2023

Change in number of building start permissions for dwellings
Change in number of building start permissions for dwellings
November 2022 - December 2022

About the statistics

The statistics give figures for changes in the number of dwellings as a result of rebuilding existing buildings, and for buildings that have been demolished, burnt down or otherwise ceased to exist.

Approved building. When project application is granted it is considered as an approved building in the statistics. A granted project application gives permission to start up preparetory work. In cases where the municipality uses a one-step-application (applications where for different reasons there are no need for a two-stepwise executive work; first a general permission and then a project starting permission), the date for general permission is set to be equal to date for project starting permission.

Building work started. Building work started. Until 1999 building work was counted as started when the work with piles, the laying of the foundation wall and founding of footing begins. From 2000 the starting date used is the date when starting permission is given.

Buildings under construction. Buildings are considered under construction when the work is reported started but not yet reported completed even when the construction is stopped in the meantime. If a building is still under construction after a mighty long period, an investigation is made to see if the construction is stopped, or if the building is supposed to be completed. The registration is cancelled when a building that is started is not expected to be completed, and the building will not be considered in the statistics. This may affect the numbers.

Buildings completed. A buildings is considered completed when either temporary permission to use is given or when certificate for building accomplished is given.

Rebuilding. New dwellings as a result of rebuilding of existing buildings (i.e. new dwellings due to reconstruction of utility floor space from industry to dwellings). When an old building is being demolished to the foundation wall, it is regarded as a new building. When the building framework is not demolished, it counts as rebuilding.

Buildings demolished. Decrease in number of buildings due to demolition, fire etc. This includes number of dwellings and number of buildings. Buildings with more than one building units will be counted as more than one building when demolished. This also goes for vertically divided houses with 2 dwellings and rowhouses. A part of the decrease in number of buildings is caused by revisions of the register. This goes for private garages in particular.

Registered dates. For approved buildings, building work started and buildings completed, dates are used from when the buildings where registered by the municipalities.

Utility floor space is the floor area measured within the outer walls, defined in Norwegian Standard NS 3940 Area and volume calculations of buildings.

Dwellings. A dwelling is defined as one or more rooms and it must be possible to have access to the room(s) without having to go through another dwelling. Both dwelling units and single rooms are counted as dwellings.

Dwelling units  is a dwelling with kitchen.

Single rooms is a dwelling without kitchen or with a shared kitchen.

Dwellings equal dwelling units plus single rooms.

Room. A room must satisfy the room requirements of the Building Act. Kitchen, bath, hallway and the like are not counted as rooms.

Floor. The number of dwellings and area in the basement, lower floor and loft are registered. The difference between basement/lower floor and lower floor/regular floor is stipulated in the building regulations and in principle is determined by how high the panelled ceiling is above level terrain. A regular floor shall have a height of 2.10 metres or more above a breadth of minimum 1.20 metres. An accessible volume above the upper regular floor is called a loft. A free height of 1.90 metre with a minimum width of 0.60 metres is required.

Type of building is established according to function, combined buildings, for instance combined dwelling and business buildings and storage and production buildings, are grouped by the function that occupies the main part of the utility floor space.

Industrial classification. In addition to building type, it is also registered what industry the user of the building belongs to. The Industrial Classification is attached to the user and is therefore independent of the building type. At the time of filling out the statistical form it is not always known who the user of the building will be. Because of this the industrial classification is considered to be more uncertain than the classification of the building type. The industrial classification is in accordance with the EU Industrial Classification NACE.

Name: Building statistics
Topic: Construction, housing and property

9 February 2023

Division for Housing, Property, Spatial and Agricultural Statistics

Municipal, county and national level.

Monthly, quarterly and annually.

The statistics are reported to Eurostat.

Micro data are stored as text files on UNIX.

The statistics measure the developments in building activities for all types of buildings. Statistics Norway has published the building statistics since 1967.

Users of building statistics include the building and construction industry, the Ministry of Finance, Norges Bank, Statistics Norway's national accounts section, municipalities, various domestic and foreign organizations and institutions.

No external users have access to statistics before they are released at 8 a.m. on after at least three months’ advance notice in the release calendar. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway for ensuring the equal treatment of users.

Information on completed detached houses is used in the price index for new detached houses. Building statistics are used for the compilation of national accounts statistics.

The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).

EU Council regulation No 1165/98 May 19, 1998 regarding short-term statistics.

The population is licensed, started and completed buildings during the month, quarter and year. The observation unit is building. 

From 2010 and onwards the statistics include buildings with a utility floor space of 16 square metres and over. In addition buildings with a utility floor space of less than 16 square metres are included if there is a new dwelling unit. Before 2010 the threshold value for utility floor space was 30 square meters.

From 2014 and onwards the statistics is based upon registered buildings from 6th of January to 5 th of January the year after. Before 2014 the statistics is correspondingly based upon a statistical year from 11th of January one year to 10th of January the next year.

From 2017 and onwards the statistics is based upon registered buildings from 6th of January to 31st of December.

From 2018 and onwards the statistics is based upon registered buildings from 1st of January to 31 st of December.

Matrikkelen is a computer register containing information about ground properties and addresses in Norway. The register also contains information on all buildings under construction at 31 December 1982 and all buildings that have been built or changed since 1 January 1983. Data to Matrikkelen are collected pursuant to the act relating to the division of landed property and provisions of this act.

AS from 2009 the municipalities have been transferred from the Ground Parcel, Address and Building Register (GAB) to the new property register, Matrikkelen.

The owner of the register is the Ministry of Environment, with the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority professionally responsible. The County Mapping Offices administrate the register system in the districts and together with each of the municipalities they are responsible for entering the data.

"Norsk Eiendomsinformation as" runs the register, and the municipalities provide the necessary information for Matrikkelen, based on data supplied by the investors and authorities.

The building statistics are a complete census.

Data from Matrikkelen.

Every building is checked, and edited if necessary, according to editing procedures; a set of fixed machine and manual checks. The variables checked are date, type of building, industry, utility floor space, number of dwellings and dwelling units. The editing procedures ensure that obvious errors in the register are corrected. The procedures ensure that there is correspondence between the various variables for the same building.

Totals are calculated by summation. Monthly and quarterly series started are seasonally adjusted, while trend-cycle data are published both for utility floor space other than in dwellings and for dwelling units and utility floor space in dwellings. The numbers are adjusted for seasonal variations applying the X12-ARIMA method within RJdemetra, with non-fixed seasonal effects and multiplicative model. Pre-correction for Easter effect. Extreme values are corrected if they are significant. 


Not relevant

Agriculture, forestry and fishing building have been included again in the statistics since 1993. From 1971 to 1992 these buildings were excluded from the statistics due to the fact that the registration of these buildings failed after the obligation to submit reports was discontinued in January 1970. Beginning 1 March 1991 new registration instructions were imposed on the municipalities to report new buildings in agriculture, forestry and fishing to the previous GAB register.

Before the establishment of the GAB register in 1983, the useful floor space of buildings was used. Statistics Norway has calculated conversion factors between useful space and utility floor space for dwellings. Based on figures from 2 500 buildings, the ratio between useful floor space and utility floor space was measured, and these ratios are as follows:

Detached houses


Semi-detached houses


House with 2 dwelling units


Multi-dwelling houses




A figure for total floor space in 1982 is achieved by multiplying the useful floor space by 1.56.

Before 1983, the gross floor space was used for other buildings than dwellings. The gross floor space includes the outside of outer walls, while the utility floor space is measured from the inside of outer walls.

The industrial classification was formerly in accordance with the UN International Standard Industrial Classification ISIC. Since 1996 the classification has been in accordance with the EU Industrial Classification NACE. Utility floor space divided by division can because of this not be compared with the previous years.

Due to new preparation routines there is a break in the statistics for buildings under construction from 1991. Buildings reported under construction more than five years ago, but not yet completed, are not included in the statistics as buildings under construction. This change means that the average figure for all buildings will be 9 per cent lower from 1991.

From 2000, new triple figures were used for type of building, while until 1999 double figures were used. Thus there is a break in type of building from 1999 to 2000.

As from 2007 Svalbard is included in the annual building statistics. The figures only include the building activity in Longyearbyen, while other areas of Svalbard are not included in the statistics. This is because only buildings in Longyearbyen are registered in Matrikkelen.

As of 2021 the method for calculating the average annual registration delay has been improved. 

Municipalities can make mistakes in registering data in Matrikkelen.  There are also some municipalities which for various reasons do not always follow the current registration rules for Matrikkelen. Several municipalities cooperate on registrering data in Matrikkelen, hence some municipalities have outsourced the registering of data in Matrikkelen to other municipalities. 

Registered building permissions . Figures for buildings in the building statistics rely on dates for when permits are registered by the municipalities in the date register (Matrikkelen). A building permit does not always mean that construction will be started at once. Especially in low conjunctures it might be that construction project are not realized or may be postponed after a building permit has been granted. When the building activity trend turns from a low to a high level, and vice versa, this could affect the interpretation of the statistics.

Rebuilding. Any rebuilding that takes part in connection with extension of existing buildings, are registered as extensions and are not included in the statistics for rebuild dwellings. They are however included in the figures for new dwellings.

The building statistics are a complete census, but with larger delays in registrations of buildings these buildings are not included in the statistics.

The building statistics are a complete census, and the figures in the statistics therefore have no sample variance.

The municipalities are responsible for entering building cases in Matrikkelen. There is a certain amount of lag in the registration of building cases by the municipalities. The registration delay means that not all buildings registered as started or completed during the statistical year were also actually started or completed during the statistical year. The longer the registration delay the smaller this share will be. Tables 3 and 4 show how large a percentage of the buildings which each year were registered as started and completed in the period from 1993 to 2021 which were also actually started and completed these years.

Table 1. Average annual registration delay. Residential buildings. 1993-2021. Months

Table 2. Average annual registration delay. Non-residential buildings. 1993-2021. Months

Table 3. Percentage of residential buildings that actually belongs to the statistical year. 1993-2021

Table 4. Percentage of registered non-residential buildings that actually belong to the statistical year. 1993-2021

Consequences and interpretation of registration delays

Registration delays entail two main problems with respect to interpreting the registered figures:

  • Registered building activities do not necessarily coincide with actual building activities.
  • Registered change in building activities from one year to the next does not necessarily coincide with the actual change in building activities.

The longer the registration delay is, the greater the chance of major deviations between registered and actual building activities.

Table 5. Number of started dwellings. Registered as started during the statistical year, actually started as of December in the statistical year and actually started as of December 2021

Table 6. Started utility floor space for dwellings. Registered as started during the statistical year, actually started as of December in the statistical year and actually started as of December 2021

Table 7. Started utility floor space of buildings other than dwellings. Registered as started in the statistical year, actually started as of December in the statistical year and actually started as of December 2021

Exactly how much building activity there actually is during a certain year or month can never be known until long after the end of the statistical period. For example, buildings that were actually started in 2000 have been registered every year in Matrikkelen until now.

Moreover, no one knows exactly how many building projects have gone unregistered in municipalities in the course of a year. As long as no one knows whether the delay in registration will increase or decline in the future, it is not easy, such a short time after the end of the statistical year, to say whether the registered building activities in a given year are too high or too low in relation to the actual building activities.

Table 8. Comparison of the number of dwellings registered started and registered completed. 1983-2021. Number of dwellings

Table 8 shows that over a period of time the number of dwellings registered started is higher than the number of dwellings registered completed. The main reason for this is lack of or late registration of completed dwellings in the municipalities. According to Statistics Norway’s routines for dwellings registered completed more than 3 years after actual completion are not included in the statistics.

Provisional - final figures

The same principals and definitions are used in monthly, quarterly and yearly statistics.

However, corrections made in Matrikkelen (because of errors in registration), on which the statistics are based, make the total figures of three-monthly statistics differ from figures in the quarterly statistics. In the same way total figures of four quarterly statistics will differ from figures in the yearly statistics.


What is seasonal adjustment?

Monthly and quarterly time series are often characterised by considerable seasonal variations, which might complicate their interpretation. Such time series are therefore subjected to a process of seasonal adjustment in order to remove the effects of these seasonal fluctuations. Once data have been adjusted for seasonal effects by X-12-ARIMA or some other seasonal adjustment tool, a clearer picture of the time series emerges.

For more information on seasonal adjustment: metadata on methods: metadata on methods: seasonal adjustment

Seasonally adjusted series

Seasonally adjusted series and trend are calculated for the monthly series of building work started; number of dwellings, utility floor space – dwellings and utility floor space – other buildings.

To perform analyses of the underlying development in the data for building statistics, the series are seasonally adjusted.

Pre-treatment routines/schemes

Running a detailed pre-treatment. This means using models which are specially adapted for the pretreatment of the raw data for a given series.

Calendar adjustment

To perform calendar adjustments on all series showing significant and plausible calendar effects within a statistically robust approach, such as regression or RegARIMA (a regression model with an ARIMA structure for the residuals). The regression variables for the calendar adjustment are adapted to reflect the holidays, public holidays and so forth specific to Norway.

Methods for trading/working day adjustment

No correction.

Correction for moving holidays

Correction based on an estimation of the duration of the moving holidays effects, specifically adjusted to Norwegian circumstances.

National and EU/euro area calendars

Use of the Norwegian calendar or the EU/euro area calendar as appropriate; the EU/euro area calendar is based on the mean number of working days in the different member states.

Treatment of outliers

Outliers are detected automatically by the seasonal adjustment tool. The outliers are removed before seasonal adjustment is carried out, and then reintroduced into the seasonally adjusted data.

Model selection

Pre-treatment requires choosing an ARIMA model, as well as deciding whether the data should be log-transformed or not.

Manual model selection after running statistical tests.

Decomposition scheme

The decomposition scheme specifies how the various components – basically trend-cycle, seasonal and irregular – combine to form the original series. The most frequently used decomposition schemes are the multiplicative, additive or log additive.

Manual decomposition scheme selection after graphical inspection of the series.

Choice of seasonal adjustment approach


Consistency between raw and seasonally adjusted data

Do not apply any constraint.

Consistency between aggregate/definition of seasonally adjusted data

In some series, consistency between seasonally adjusted totals and the original series is imposed. For some series there is also a special relationship between the different series, e.g. GDP which equals production minus intermediate consumption.

Do not apply any constraint.

Direct versus indirect approach

Direct seasonal adjustment is performed if all time series, including aggregates, are seasonally adjusted on an individual basis. Indirect seasonal adjustment is performed if the seasonally adjusted estimate for a time series is derived by combining the estimates for two or more directly adjusted series.

No approach needed.

Horizon for estimating the model and the correction factors

When performing seasonal adjustment of a time series, it is possible to choose the period to be used in estimating the model and the correction factors. Correction factors are the factors used in the pre-treatment and seasonal adjustment of the series.

The whole time series is used to estimate the model and the correction factors.

General revision policy

Seasonally adjusted data may change due to a revision of the unadjusted (raw) data or the addition of new data. Such changes are called revisions, and there are several ways to deal with the problem of revisions when publishing the seasonally adjusted statistics.

Both raw and seasonally adjusted data are revised between two consecutive official releases of the release calendar.

Comments: Raw data are not revised.

Concurrent versus current adjustment

Partial concurrent adjustment: the model is identified and estimated yearly, while filters, outliers and regression parameters are re-identified and estimated continuously as new or revised data become available.

Horizon for published revisions

The entire time series is revised in the event of a re-estimation of the seasonal factors.

Evaluation of seasonally adjustment data

Continuous/periodical evaluation using standard measures proposed by different seasonal adjustment tools.

Quality measures for seasonal adjustment

No quality measures for seasonal adjustment assessment are used.

Seasonal adjustment of short time series

All series are sufficiently long to perform an optimal seasonal adjustment.

Treatment of problematic series

None of the published series are viewed as problematic.

Data availability

Raw and seasonally adjusted data are available.

All metadata information associated with an individual time series is available.

Press releases

In addition to raw data, at least one of the following series is released: pre-treated, seasonally adjusted, seasonally plus working day adjusted, trend-cycle series.

Both levels/indices and different forms of growth rates are presented.