But as long as you can pay it cash and can sell it for the same price, the house is not more expensive to live in than amy other house.Do you not have real estate tax that scales with property value in Norway? And even then, wouldn't insurance and/or maintenance likely be more for a more expensive house?
Yes, we have property value taxes. But houses are taxed much cheaper than money on the bank. Like the first part of the house is only taxed for 10% of the value. The next part 20%. Money on the bank is 100% taxed. So owning a house is a benifit.
Property tax is at a completely different level in Norway than in the US. The municipalities choose if and how high they want to set the tax level, but it can't exceed .7% a year. Most municipalities also set a deduction, to make sure the cheapest houses (usually poorest people) don't get taxed. My current house has a market value of ~$300 000, but my tax baseline is set at less than $100 000, and I pay .49% tax on that amount. I don't think it is fair that we pay so little, but asking the municipality to increase our tax base would probably be bad for our neighbours, so I have avoided it so far. The difference between a big expensive house, and a smaller and cheaper one, are not very large. In addition, electricity costs about $.1/kwh, and water meters are not common. If you have a positive net worth, it is as Linda describes; you get taxed a very low percentage if you have a million or more, and property is taxed lower than cash.
As to the "mandatory" TV payment: If you don't have a TV receiver, you don't have to pay it. We watch all our TV online, and could refuse to pay for the state channels. But they are good quality, and also provide balanced and reliable news. So we choose to send them the $200/year.