Oslo has been rated the leading region globally for managing the pandemic, and this has meant that negative effects on productivity have been more muted than in other city regions. The low rate of Covid-related deaths, clearly communicated restrictions, and less severe changes to footfall and mobility patterns, have all helped to strengthen potential appeal to investors and entrepreneurs.
Oslo’s productivity recovery can be underpinned by a growing specialisation in high-tech industries, more jobs that can be done remotely, and the momentum of its financial and business sectors. Strong macro fundamentals suggest that Oslo can emerge a winner, while others take longer to bounce back.
Figure 3: Oslo’s performance compared to peers across different measures of productivity
New data suggests that Oslo’s investment market is likely to be one of the most resilient in Europe to the effects of the pandemic. The region’s track record of having bounced back relatively quickly following the global financial crisis has helped to buoy confidence among potential investors. Liquid multifamily markets and reliance on domestic and intra-Nordic demand will also work in the region’s favour. On the other hand, regulatory barriers to cross-border real estate transactions appear to still be more established than in other city regions.
Oslo’s financial sector has matured in recent years but seems to have fluctuated more over the course of the pandemic than in other regions. In 2020, Oslo stood out as one of only a handful in Europe to have become more financially competitive, although perceptions of financial experts who are less familiar with Oslo had been slower to catch up. Into 2021, Oslo's financial sector performance has slipped, raising questions about what a new normal will look like once the pandemic has subsided, and whether it will play a global or more regional role. Data also points to other city regions being more successful than Oslo at hosting offices of top international professional services firms.