Finland is one of the safest countries in the world, and all residential areas are safe to live in. Homes are well maintained and warm throughout the year, and even in cities, nature is nearby. Public transport works well in cities.Income differences in Finland are lower than in most other countries. This also shows in housing; differences between residential areas are not as great as in countries that have high income differences.
About one-quarter of Finns live in rental homes. Rental homes are often units in blocks of flats, but you can also rent a detached house or a unit in a terraced house. Rents vary widely in different districts. The city centres of large cities are usually the most expensive.
About two-thirds of Finns live in owner-occupied homes. In the long term, buying a home is often cheaper than renting.
Housing prices vary widely across Finland. The price is affected by the location and age of the home. In large cities, housing costs more than elsewhere in Finland. However, a home in a large city is usually a safe investment; housing prices will probably not fall.
A right-of-occupancy home is a home for which you first pay a right-of-occupancy payment. You will also pay a certain amount for housing each month as a charge for use (käyttövastike). The right-of-occupancy payment is approximately 15 per cent of the price of the home. The amount of the charge for use varies according to the home and its location.
Right-of-occupancy homes are available in the biggest municipalities. If you want a right-of-occupancy home, you need to get a queue number from the housing office of the municipality. You can get queue numbers from several municipalities.
If the right-of-occupancy home was not constructed with a state subsidy, the building owner can choose the occupants him/herself. If the state funded the construction of the home, there are various criteria for occupants, such as age, income and assets.
A shared-ownership home means that you only buy a part of the home at first and pay rent. Afterwards, it is possible to buy the whole home for yourself.
When you move into a shared-ownership home, you first pay approximately 10–20 percent of the price of the home. After this, you will live in the home as a tenant and pay rent. The tenancy period normally lasts around 5–12 years. Meanwhile, you may be able to buy additional shares in the home if you have agreed this with the constructor.
Once the tenancy period comes to an end, you can buy the home for yourself. After this, you will have a normal owner-occupied home in a housing company.
In Finland, the average rent is approximately EUR 15 per m². This applies to new tenancy agreements. However, prices of rental homes vary in the range of EUR 10–30 per m². The city centres of large cities are the most expensive. In the case of studios or one-room homes, rents per square metre are on average higher than in large homes. In general, you must also pay for water, electricity, home insurance and the Internet in addition to the rent. The water rate usually depends on the number of people living in the home.
The average cost of owner-occupied homes in Finland is EUR 2,100 per m². However, the variation is high. In large cities, homes are the most expensive. Even within the same city, prices vary widely from district to district. In addition to the sales price, housing costs are affected by renovations in the home and the housing company, among other things.
Sales adverts give two prices for a home: the sales price and the debt-free price. The real total price of a home is the debt-free price of the home. The sales price indicates the amount of money that the home can be purchased for, but in addition to it, you will also pay a housing company loan in the maintenance charge, which can increase the housing costs considerably.
In a housing company, the maintenance charge is usually a large expense item. The maintenance charge depends on the size of the home, renovations and whether the housing company owns the land. When you buy a home, check whether the housing company owns the land or whether the land is rented.
Since Finland is a cold country, heating is usually the largest single expense item in detached houses. It can account for almost one-half of the housing costs. Other costs in a detached house include property tax, electricity, water, waste collection and any repairs.
Finnish cities have many housing estates where buildings were built in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s. There are also many new buildings in large cities. Homes in new buildings are usually more expensive than in old buildings.
About one-half of Finns live in a detached or semi-detached house. Wooden houses are common in Finland. About one-third of Finns live in a block of flats, but in cities it is more common. On average, about two people live in the same home. Over 40% of Finns live alone.
The average size of Finnish homes is about 40 m² per person, but the differences are great. The largest amount of space is available to those who live alone.
About one-half of Finns live in buildings that are heated with district heating. Other common heating methods are geothermal and electric heating. The typical indoor temperature in Finland is 21 °C. Normally, homes have triple-glazed windows, keeping the heat inside even in winter.
In blocks of flats, each home usually has a storage closet in the basement or attic. Most housing companies also have a laundry room where occupants can do their laundry for a fee.
Finnish terraced houses and detached houses usually have a private sauna. Homes in new blocks of flats also often have a sauna. In old blocks of flats, the sauna is usually found in the communal premises of the housing company and may be booked for a monthly fee.
The best things about Finnish homes
- The water pressure is always good and steady.
- The insulation of the houses is excellent. Triple-glazed windows and floor heating are very common.
- Almost every house or building has a sauna for their residents.
- Finnish locks are designed intelligently, they have one key to rule them all!
- In the houses they do not wear shoes. Sometimes they even wear thick socks in indoor public places.
- Dish drying cabinets are very common in every home.
- Housing companies take care of maintenance and repair services.