Finding accommodation in Finland: on the Baltic Sea in Greater Helsinki

This three-bedroom house is located on a wooded hill overlooking the Baltic Sea in Kirkkonummi, a municipality in Greater Helsinki, southern Finland. Located along a bay in an area called Langvik, the six-acre property has 650 feet of waterfront and a dock.

A restaurant from the hotel is across the bay, and the owners like to “take their stand-up paddleboards on the sea to the hotel and get their food to go,” said Manna Satuli, agent at Snellman Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing.

Built in 1978, the 3,830 square foot home recently underwent a complete renovation, incorporating high-end contemporary finishes throughout. It has geothermal heating and cooling and two saunas, one steam and one wood.

A front yard in an L formed by the house and an attached two-car garage has a large wooden deck, decorative rockeries and a fire pit. The glass front door opens into a ceramic foyer with a powder room. Directly in front is the combined kitchen and dining room, with a wall of windows overlooking the water.

The sleek kitchen cabinets and charcoal gray island are from Binova, the Italian luxury brand. Built-in appliances, including an induction cooktop, dishwasher and oven, are from Gaggenau, the German manufacturer known for its innovative designs.

The living room, facing the water, is next to the kitchen. It opens onto an adjoining television room below. A glass door in the TV room opens onto another terrace.

Next to the living room is a lounge with a fireplace. Alternatively, it could serve as an office or another bedroom, Ms Satuli said. It also has a door to a terrace.

A door at the other end of the kitchen leads to an office or studio space, a small guest bedroom and a full bathroom.

The master suite is on the lower level. It has a fireplace lounge with a dressing room with glass walls and a bathroom with double sinks and walk-in shower. The living room also opens onto a private covered terrace.

At the end of the hallway is a large exercise room with a mirrored wall, a third bedroom and bathroom, and the two glass-enclosed saunas, which are separated by an open ceramic shower area.

The center of Kirkkonummi (40,000 inhabitants), with shops, restaurants, library and medical services, is a few minutes away. The capital Helsinki and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport are about half an hour away.

For five consecutive years, Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Finland is rapidly becoming much more urbanized, with young people increasingly gravitating towards cities, especially Helsinki, the country’s most densely populated area. More than 70% of Finland’s population of around 5.5 million people now live in urban areas, according to a recent property market report by KTI, a Finnish property research company.

“When people graduate from universities in other cities, they tend to go to Helsinki,” said Jani Nieminen, managing director of Kojamo, Finland’s largest private residential real estate company and a major investor in the housing market. residential rental. “Helsinki is the heart of Finland, and most new jobs are created there.”

He expects half a million more people to live in Helsinki and other cities by 2040.

Residential construction in urban areas has been relatively robust in recent years, with some 39,000 units started in 2020 and 38,000 in 2019, according to KTI.

But demand still greatly exceeds supply, especially for owned property. The more than 85,000 residential property transactions recorded nationwide in 2021 set a record, surpassing the previous year’s record of more than 10,000 transactions, according to data from the Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies.

At the same time, average selling times for single-family homes in greater Helsinki fell by almost a month.

“The pace of selling a house today is close to what it was in 2014, which was the fastest market since the financial crash of 2008,” said Annukka Mickelsson, the federation’s chief executive. “People understand that you have to have financing ready and be quick with your decisions.”

Ms Satuli, who specializes in high-end properties up to the millions, said she was unable to secure enough listings to meet demand.

“I sold everything I could get,” she said.

The average price per square meter for existing apartments in Helsinki was 5,890 euros ($604 per square foot) last year and 6,340 euros ($650 per square foot) for new apartments, Ms Mickelsson said. Many are organized into housing corporations, similar to housing co-operatives, in which buyers buy shares.

Rentals outnumber owner-occupied housing in Helsinki, where half of households are made up of one person. Rents in central Helsinki average around 22.5 euros per square meter ($2.31 per square foot), although they are higher in new construction, said Mr Nieminen, whose the company has a portfolio of approximately 37,000 apartments in the seven main growth centers of Finland.

“We have a lot of people who could buy but choose not to,” he said. “They prefer the simplicity of rental apartments.”

Foreign buyers represent a small share of the market in this ethnically homogeneous country. In 2019, only 7.5% of residents did not speak Finnish or Swedish as their first language, according to KTI.

Ms Satuli said her overseas buyers usually come from other European countries, particularly Austria and France, as well as the United States.

In recent years, the country’s real estate market has become more popular with large international investors who are looking for new opportunities and “are willing to pay more aggressive prices”, Mr. Nieminen said.

Foreign buyers outside the European Union must apply to the Ministry of Defense for permission to purchase real estate in Finland. (Permission is not required to purchase housing shares.) They must provide information about the buyer and seller, and the intended use of the property. The application fee is 150 euros ($166).

Lawyers are not usually hired to handle routine transactions, although Ms Satuli said she often advises foreign clients to hire a lawyer because “we need to make sure everything is done within the rules of the EU. art”.

Agent commissions vary widely. Digital agents, who don’t physically show properties, can charge as little as 1%, while traditional agents can charge sellers up to 4.5%, Ms Mickelsson said.

Finnish and Swedish; euro (1 euro = $1.10)

The transfer tax is 2% for co-ownerships and 4% for property.

The property taxes on this house are 1,082 euros ($1,194) per year.

Manna Satuli, Snellman Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-358-50-550-2638; Snellman Sotheby’s International Realty | Real Estate Broker | helsinki

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