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Sales of holiday cabins hit 30-year high

With foreign travel sharply restricted, people in Finland have sought out vacation cottages closer to home.

Demand is lower for log cabins like this one in Northern Karelia due to their distance from major cities. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Sales of holiday homes have risen sharply in Finland this year, with sales those on sea or lake shores up by 40 percent from last year. Average prices for summer cottages¨– which are increasingly used year-round – have risen for the first time in years.

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Kesämökki Ohtakarilla Kokkolassa.
The highest demand is for cottages on sea or lake shores, such as this one in Kokkola. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

According to figures from the National Land Survey of Finland, by the end of September sales of shoreline cabins were well above those in any year in the past three decades.

The National Land Survey predicts that the total sales of shoreline cottages will reach nearly 5,200 this year, compared to last year’s 3,700. That represents growth of 40 percent from last year, which was also a record year.

“Sales of second homes have been spurred by the coronavirus situation, border closures and attention turning toward domestic travel. Sales have been rising for several years, so this is not a new phenomenon, but this has certainly clearly accelerated,” says Taisto Toppinen, Head of Registers at the National Land Survey.

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Maanmittauslaitoksen päällikkö Taisto Toppinen
Taisto Toppinen expects sales of second homes to remain strong next year. Image: Antti Karhunen / Yle
Toppinen says that sales began to speed up last spring during the first coronavirus wave – in contrast to sales of regular detached homes, which came to a near-standstill for a couple of months.

Sales of vacation homes have particularly perked up in North Karelia, South Savo and Pirkanmaa.

Heightened demand has pushed the average national price up for the first time since 2011. Still, today’s prices well below the level of a decade ago.

The average price of cottages in zoned areas has risen to 90,000 euros this year, up by six percent from last year. In non-built-up areas, prices have remained about the same as in 2019.

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Esittelykyltti mökkitien varrella.
Real estate agents were busy showing second homes this past summer. Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle

Prices have risen most rapidly in southwest Finland and Ostrobothnia, while they have declined in remote areas of Uusimaa and North Savo and zoned areas of Lapland.

Cabins on lake or seashores have long been priciest in densely populated Uusimaa and cheapest in Lapland. The average price in the north is more than 100,000 euros lower than down south.

There are more than half a million holiday cottages in Finland, or roughly one per 11 inhabitants. The largest numbers of cottages are in Kuopio and Mikkeli in eastern Finland and Pargas (Parainen) on the southwest coast.

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