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Housing in Finland

Finland is one of the safest countries in the world, and all residential districts in Finland are safe to live in. Homes are well equipped 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.

Rental home or owned home?

Finland has a wide range of housing options. You can rent or buy a home, and there are also other options that fall between the two.

Rental homes in Finland

About 30% 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.

Homes are rented out by companies, private persons, cities, foundations, parishes, associations, insurance companies and banks. Some employers offer company housing for their employees.

You can search for available rental homes in the search services on the Internet.

Read more on the InfoFinland pages Rental home and Tenancy agreement.

Buying a home in Finland

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. In rural areas and small towns, homes are much cheaper, but you may find it more difficult to sell the home if you want to give up it.

You can find information on homes available for sale in the search services on the Internet.

Read more about buying a home on the InfoFinland page Buying a home.

Right-of-occupancy home

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 largest municipalities. If you want to apply for a right-of-occupancy home, you need a queue number for your application. You can apply for a number on the ARA website.

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 and assets.

Shared-ownership home

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 per cent 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.

Housing costs in Finland

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 2,300 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. However, the costs can vary a great deal. Other costs in a detached house include property tax, electricity, water, waste collection and any repairs.

How do people live in Finland?

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 40% of Finns live in a block of flats, which is more common in cities. On average, about two people live in the same home. Approximately 20% 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 heat, air heat pumps 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.

More information on housing in Finland

  • What things do you need to remember to do when you move to a new home? Read more on the InfoFinland page Moving house.
  • How can you prevent fires and water damage? What electrical work can you handle yourself in Finland? Read more on the page Safety at home.
  • What rights and obligations do you have when you live in a rented home or a home you own in Finland? Read more on the page Rights and obligations of occupants.
  • How to sort waste in Finland? Read more on the page Waste and recycling.
  • In what circumstances can you get housing allowance from Kela? Read more on the page Housing allowance.

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