During the first 10 months of this year, sales volumes of older apartments in Finland declined by 13.8 percent compared to last year. However, the decrease is only 1.4 percent below the five-year average, as last year saw a sales rebound from the pandemic.
Huoneistokeskus, which is among the country's largest real estate companies, on Monday released a survey of the housing market in large cities and their surrounding municipalities this year.
"The housing market has turned downward, there's no denying that. The year, which started well, has brought one challenge after another, from the war started by Russia to inflation, rising interest rates and the energy crisis," said Marina Salenius, Senior Vice President of Huoneistokeskus and chair of the industry group that calls itself the Federation of Real Estate Agency.
Sales slump in capital's outer suburbs
In the capital region, after a positive start to the year, the number of apartment transactions started to fall.
In Helsinki, the sales volume of older flats fell by 15.1 percent between January and October, compared to the same period of last year. In neighbouring Espoo, there was an 18.6 percent decrease in transaction volumes, with a decline of 15.1 percent in Vantaa.
In Kirkkonummi, to the west of Espoo, the number of sales has plunged by 32 percent.
Growth in some satellite towns
In the country's largest inland city, Tampere, the number of residential transactions decreased by 11.7 percent compared to last year. Of the surrounding municipalities, only Ylöjärvi and Vesilahti showed increases in housing transactions since last year. Ylöjärvi's growth was a meagre 0.8 percent, while sales in Vesilahti jumped by 20 percent.
In Turku, the biggest city in the southwest, January-to-October apartment transaction volumes were down by 13 percent, with similar declines in nearby Kaarina and Rusko. In Naantali, the decline was nearly 17 percent.
Modest decline in Lahti, growth in Joensuu
In Lahti, about 100 km north of the capital, the decline was more modest at just 8.7 percent. Further north in central Finland, Jyväskylä showed a drop of 10.9 percent compared to the first 10 months of last year.
In the eastern city of Kuopio, the sales volumes of old apartments were 13.2 percent lower than during the same period of 2021.
However there was strong demand in Finland's "strawberry capital" of Suonenjoki, some 50 km away, where sales of old flats leapt by 18.2 percent.
Also in the east, Joensuu is the only major city where housing sales have increased this year. The growth between January and October was 5.1 percent. Up north, sales in Oulu decreased modestly by 5.9 percent from last year.
The volume of apartment sales in the west-coast city of Pori decreased by 7.6 percent, while those in Kankaanpää, 50 km inland, plunged by half.
The decline in home sales in many areas may represent a gradual return to normal after the dramatic fluctuations of the pandemic years – as well as a gradual long-term trend toward more people renting rather than purchasing flats.
Last month the central statistics bureau said that about 28 percent of Finland's population lived in rented homes last year, up from 24 percent in 2010.
Meanwhile, Statistics Finland said that the average price of flats fell by 1.7 percent during the July-to-September period, compared to third quarter of last year.