Prices for older flats dip in all major Finnish cities except Vantaa

The biggest slump in housing prices was in Oulu, which saw a 7.4 percent plunge in the cost of old units in housing companies.

Last year's rapid rise in prices in Turku seems to have plateaued. Image: AOP

Market prices for apartments in housing-company buildings edged downward from December to January throughout the country, Statistics Finland said on Thursday.

Nationally the average monthly decline was 3.3 percent, while in the Helsinki region prices were down by 1.9 percent. The only large city where real estate values showed growth was the capital's northern bedroom community of Vantaa. There the average price for a flat nudged upward by 1.1 percent. Overall though Vantaa prices were actually marginally lower than a year earlier.

Year on year, prices have risen by around two percent in Helsinki – and by 9.5 percent since 2015.

In the greater Helsinki area, prices gained just over one percent compared with January 2018. Elsewhere in Finland they have declined by more than two percent over the past year.

The figures are based on old dwellings in housing-company buildings, in which a company owns the building itself and homeowners hold shares in that company corresponding proportionally to the size of their apartment. The ownership structure offers stability and spreads the cost of renovations, but also carries some risk if the company takes on a lot of debt.

Turku price surge fades

Prices had been rising briskly in the southwestern city of Turku, up nearly 10 percent in the past year – but that trend seems to have come to a halt in January as prices remained virtually unchanged.

In the inland city of Tampere, prices have sunk by nearly three percent since early 2018, with the drop steepening to nearly five percent last month.

The large city suffering the greatest decline in housing prices over the past year was Oulu in north-central Finland, where prices slumped by 7.4 percent in January. Year-on-year the decline was a more modest 4.5 percent.

Besides the capital Helsinki and its adjoining cities of Espoo and Vantaa with a combined population of well over a million, Finland's largest cities are Tampere with some 236,000 inhabitants, Oulu with 204,000 and Turku with around 192,000 residents.