Houses in Helsinki's Lauttasaari, with Ruoholahti in the background. LEHTIKUVA

In recent times, the Finnish real estate market has shown intriguing statistical trends, particularly in terms of pricing. Data indicates a discernible shift in the housing market, with prices for used apartments in major cities like Helsinki, Espoo, and Tampere experiencing a slight decrease, reflecting a market adjustment post-COVID-19. Conversely, in smaller towns and rural areas, property prices have remained relatively stable, suggesting a consistent demand in these regions.

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Although more electricity is consumed during the autumn and winter months, there are several ways to keep costs down so that bills don’t soar above summer levels.

The price of electricity has been falling since May and is currently wavering sideways. The price has been pulled down by good water conditions, the decrease in fuel prices and the negative economic outlook.

“The future development in pricing is still somewhat difficult to predict, since in addition to the economic situation it is also affected by the duration of the shutdowns of nuclear power plants and how quickly the weather turns cold,” says product specialist Peter Strandberg of Vattenfall electricity sales.

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Hiring professionals will save you money in the long run.Constructing your first home – and making it a success – requires a lot of planning, preparation and research before getting the project off the ground.

Having your dream home built to your own specifications is something many of us would love to do, but where do you start, how easy is it and what are the pitfalls?

“A good starting point is to decide on a budget,” Harri Mäkelä, the marketing manager at Kuusamo Log Houses, explains. “Decide how much you can afford and then look around to see what you can get for your money. It saves time and stress in the long run if you work out a budget first.”

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Living with neighbours is a challenge no matter where you’re from.A LOT OF ink has been spilled about the issues faced by foreigners in negotiating the property market in Finland, especially renting a flat. Housing is one area that often comes up in discussions of how difficult it is to integrate with Finnish society. This begs the question, though: is it really true that foreigners have particular problems in dealing with housing?

VVO is Finland’s largest housing services company. Its activities range from development and construction of property to the rent and sale of apartments – some 40,000 apartments in 45 municipalities. With its size and breadth of coverage, it has perhaps the most experience with renters foreign and domestic of any company in the country, so it made sense to ask them their views on the matter.

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Kenneth Quek is a member of the Helsinki Times editorial team.A COMMON complaint among immigrants and expatriates living in Finland is that it’s hard to get to know their neighbours. The usual plea is that people pass each other in the corridors or the stairs without a word – indeed, with barely a glance of recognition.

While this may be true in many cases, it does not have to be that way. Most Finns are very warm people once you get past their initial reserve. It’s just hard to break the ice – but there is a solution. There’s one social institution that breaks down the barriers and sets you off on the right foot with your neighbours: the talkoot.

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There are currently around 40,000 right-of-occupancy apartments in Finland.Young applicants are badly treated under the present system, according to critics.

THE RIGHT-of-occupancy apartments systems is in urgent need of a comprehensive overhaul to make it less rigid and unjust, critical industry insiders say. The sector’s umbrella organisation Asumisoikeusyhteisöt ry would above all like to see the present, two-decade-old queuing system done away with as being highly unfair to younger applicants.

Applicants must be above the age of 18 to get a queue number, and jumping the queue for any reason is out of the question. “Nowadays many people see queuing as completely hopeless,” reports Asumisoikeusyhteisöt ry vice chairman Panu Kärnä.

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Neighbourliness is a byword in Finnish countryside life, but city dwellers can find it hard to make connections even with those next door.Is Finland really a nation of strangers living next door to one another?

There are certain places it is considered bad manners to look each other in the eye or make small talk: public urinals, whilst riding the London underground, in the corridors and hallways of any Finnish apartment block. But that last one can’t really be true, can it? I know that the general view of the Finn is someone who is introvert and reserved, but surely that’s just a stereotype and not actually reflective of day to day life in Finland?

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