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Dorms face demolition as students shun roommates

With students increasingly opting for one-room flats, Helsinki's student housing authority could flatten existing dormitories.

Remontti Hoasin opiskelija-asunnoissa Kivikossa.
Student housing in Helsinki under renovation. Image: Kari Ahotupa / Yle

HOAS, the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region, says it may end up demolishing some of its student dorms as demand for such accommodation has fallen.

According to HOAS, of the 9,800 applicants in queue at the end of September only 10 percent are looking for accommodation in a shared flat. 

Similarly to the rest of the population, the living habits of young people are in transformation, says Matti Tarhio, chief executive of HOAS.

”Students want to have their peace and quiet too. Also, the shared flats tend to be located in buildings from the 1960s and 1970s, and newer construction always draws more interest,” Tarhio says.

Despite a chronic shortage of housing in Helsinki, some shared flats remain empty.

As a result, demolition is a possibility for buildings that are in need of renovation and located far away from public transport, Tarhio adds.

Student allowance changes

The government is currently preparing changes to student housing allowance, which is expected to make living alone even more attractive to students. Under the proposal, a student living in a shared flat would receive about 80 percent of the allowance that a student living alone would.

”Any changes to the housing allowance would likely mean fewer students applying for shared flats in the future,” Tarhio says.  

On the back of these trends, HOAS is focusing its construction on one-room flats.  At the end of 2018, about 400 such flats will be ready for students to move in.

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