Housing Conditions in Finland 2008

Over 2.7 million dwellings

At the end of 2008, there were 2 768 000 dwellings in Finland. The dwelling stock went up by 36 000 dwellings from the previous year. From year 1990, the building stock has increased by 558 000 dwellings, or by about 31 000 dwellings per year. The growth in the building stock has been slowing down from the preceding decade. In the 1980s, the building stock still grew, on average, by 37 000 dwellings per year. Residential building construction has centred in the biggest cities. Over 77 per cent of the dwellings completed in the 1995-2008 period are located in urban areas. Number of dwellings with no permanent residents increased by about 13 000 from the year before to 269 000 dwellings.

New dwellings usually in blocks of flats

One half of Finns live in detached houses, although only 40 per cent of dwellings (1 112 000) are in detached houses. There are 382 000 terraced houses, i.e. 14 per cent of the dwelling stock. Of all dwellings, almost one half (44%), or 1 2191 000, are in blocks of flats, although only one third of the population live in blocks of flats. As recently as 1990, the numbers of dwellings in detached houses and in blocks of flats were still almost equal. At that time, dwellings in blocks of flats numbered 939 000 while those in detached houses numbered only 4 000 fewer. The number of dwellings in blocks of flats has been growing in the 1990s. At the end of 2008, dwellings in blocks of flats outnumbered those in detached houses by 106 000. The number of terraced houses has grown tenfold since 1970. In 1970 they only numbered 30 000 but the figure had gone up to 382 000 by the end of 2008.

Average floor area of dwellings 79 square metres

The average floor area of a dwelling was 79.1 square metres. The average floor area of the dwelling stock has grown by about 19 square metres since 1970. In 2008 the average floor area of a one-room unit is 34 square metres, that of a two-room unit 55 square metres, and that of a three-room unit and a kitchen 79 square metres. The average floor area of an owner-occupied dwelling is 94 square metres and that of a rented dwelling 54 square metres. Despite the growth in the average size of dwellings, there are about 117 000 dwellings of under 30 square metres. In contrast, only 26 per cent of dwellings have a floor area of over 100 square metres. There are 405 000 one-room units with a kitchen or kitchenette, i.e. 15 per cent of the dwelling stock. The most common type of dwelling is two rooms and a kitchen or kitchenette. These two-room units make up about 830 000 dwellings, about 30 per cent of the total dwelling stock.

Average size of household-dwelling units 2.09 persons

There were 2 499 000 household-dwelling units, of which 1 015 000, i.e. 41 per cent, were single-person household-dwelling units. The average size of a household dwelling unit was 2.09 persons. In 1970 the average size was still three persons. In urban municipalities the average size of a household-dwelling unit is 2.03 persons and in rural municipalities 2.23 persons. The urban municipalities have more household-dwelling units consisting of one person only (43 %) than the rural municipalities (36 %). One household-dwelling unit has, on average, 81 square metres of living area at its disposal, or 39 square metres per person. The floor area per person decreases considerably when the size of the household-dwelling unit grows. On average, single-person units have 58 square metres and two-person units 43 square metres, but six-person units only 21 square metres per occupant at their disposal.

Owner-occupied dwellings have more living space than rented dwellings, when measured by floor area per person. The average floor area per persons of a household-dwelling unit living in an owner-occupied house is 41 square metres, while a unit living in a rented dwelling only has 32 square metres of floor area per person.

There are also differences between the average living space of rented dwellings. Non subsidised rented dwellings have slightly more floor area per person than other rented dwellings, 33 square meters. In government-subsidised rented dwellings there are 32 square meters floor area per person and ininterest-subsidised rented dwellings 30 square meters. Right of occupancy dwellings have 31 square meters living space per person.

Floorarea (square meters) per person by number of persons 1990-2008

Year Number of persons
All household-dwelling units 1 person 2 persons 3 persons 4 persons 5 persons 6 persons 7+ persons
1990 31,4 51,8 37,0 29,4 25,0 21,7 19,0 14,8
1995 33,4 54,0 39,2 30,4 25,3 21,9 19,0 15,0
2000 35,3 55,6 40,8 31,4 26,0 22,5 19,4 15,4
2005 37,5 57,0 42,4 32,3 27,3 23,7 20,4 16,3
2008 38,6 58,0 43,3 32,9 28,0 23,3 20,9 16,7

One in four Finns live in overcrowded dwellings

At the end of 2008, there were 228 000 overcrowded household-dwelling units in which a total of 947 000 persons lived. A household-dwelling unit with more than one person per room is considered overcrowded, which means that a single-person household is not regarded as overcrowded. Fifteen per cent of household-dwelling units other than single-person ones are overcrowded and one in four Finns live in overcrowded dwellings. The number of overcrowded household-dwelling units fell by 2 300 and the number of people living in overcrowded dwellings by 11 000 from the previous year.

One quarter of the population live in rented dwellings

The proportion of rented dwellings of all permanently occupied dwellings was 31 per cent, but 1.3 million, or one quarter of the population, lived in rented dwellings. The reason for this difference is that smaller household-dwelling units live in rented dwellings than in owner-occupied dwellings. Rented dwellings number was over 824 000 at the end of the year 2008. The number has grown by 278 000 dwellings since 1990. At the end of 2008, the number of right of occupancy dwellings was over 32 000, and almost 43 per cent of them were located in the Capital Region.

Dwelling by tenure status 1960 – 2008

Dwelling by tenure status 1960 – 2008

Renting is a tenure status preferred by young people in particular. As the age of the oldest person of a household-dwelling unit goes up the proportion of those living in rented dwellings goes down. 70 per cent of the household-dwelling units with oldest person aged under 30 and one third of those with oldest persons aged 30 to 44 live in rented dwellings, while only 22 per cent of the household-dwelling units where the oldest person is aged over 45 do so. The household-dwelling units where the oldest person is aged 45 to 74 are the most likely to own houses. 43 per cent of the households-dwelling units meeting this age criterion are owner-occupiers of detached houses. Age groups older than this are less likely to own houses. The most common mode of dwelling at a later stage in life is an owner-occupied flat in a housing corporation.

24 000 persons aged over 65 live in blocks of flats with more than three storeys with no lift

There are 21 000 blocks of flats with more than three storeys and almost one fifth, or over 3 300, of them have no lift. Dwellings in blocks of flats with more than three storeys and no lift number 109 000 and 148 000 occupants, of whom 24 000 are aged over 65, live in them. It is even less usual to have a lift in a three-storey building. 12 per cent of the 342 000 dwellings in buildings with three storeys are in blocks of flats that have a lift. Nearly half a million Finns, 72 000 of them aged over 65, live in three-storey buildings with no lift.

Source: Dwellings and Housing Conditions, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marja Hermiö (09) 1734 3211, Arja Tiihonen (09) 1734 3272, Elina Aspblad-Huohvanainen (09) 1734 3232

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 15.12.2009

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Dwellings and housing conditions [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-6761. 2008, Housing Conditions in Finland 2008 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 30.1.2015].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/asas/2008/asas_2008_2009-12-15_kat_001_en.html