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Sales of older flats fell by more than one third in April

Supply and demand are out of sync, says the CEO of a major housing firm.

asunnon avaimet pöydällä
The only large city where prices went down was Oulu. Image: Kimmo Hiltunen / Yle

Sales of older flats in housing companies fell by 35 percent in April compared to a year earlier, says Statistics Finland.

Prices of such apartments rose by two percent year-on-year in the Helsinki region and decreased by the same margin in the rest of the country. Compared to March, prices remained steady throughout Finland, the statistics agency said on Thursday.

The average older flat in Helsinki cost 4,800 euros per square metre in April.

Comparing cities, the biggest year-on-year price rise was in Turku, where they were 3.6 percent from April 2019. In Helsinki itself they went up by 2.5 percent.

Outside of the capital region, prices slid by an average of 2.2 percent compared to a year ago.

The only large city where prices went down was Oulu, where they sank by 3.8 percent. In Tampere and Vantaa, they nudged up by less than one percent.

Statistics Finland’s data is based on transactions made through real estate agents.

Sales cycle slowing

On the other hand, the Savings Bank Group says that demand for older apartments in April rose clearly above the level of a year earlier, following a collapse in demand in March, when the coronavirus outbreak began in Finland.

Jukka Rantanen, CEO of Sp-Koti, a real estate chain owned by the group, says that there are not currently enough new properties coming onto the market to meet the growing demand.

This has already led to a slowdown in the housing cycle, Rantanen said in a statement on Thursday. He said he is concerned that this may lead to a negative cycle in the housing market.

"When new properties do not come up for sale, more people are unable to find a new home and decide to postpone the process. People tend to only put their existing home for sale once they find a suitable new one, and since they want to sell before buying a new one, deals are delayed and the number of sales declines,” Rantanen said.

According to Rantanen, the number of people who are simply curious "tyre-kickers" has declined on the housing market this spring, while those who are serious about buying remain active. At the same time, though, the number of homes for sale has declined, he added.

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