A man having a cup of coffee in his home in Espoo on 5 July 2023. OP Financial Group on Monday reported that investors have returned to Finland’s real estate market, revealing that it saw a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent in buy-to-let mortgage applications between January and March. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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INVESTORS have returned to the real estate market in Finland, according to OP Financial Group.

OP on Monday reported that it recorded a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent in applications for new buy-to-let mortgages in April. Well over two-thirds, or 71 per cent, of the applications came from people who are mulling over their first real estate investment, marking an increase of 21 percentage points from December.

The most significant increases were recorded in Jyväskylä, Rovaniemi, Lahti, Oulu and Pori.

Hanna Heinonen, the head of housing loans at OP, stated that the return of investors is a welcome sight particularly after a pronouncedly weak year for buy-to-let mortgages.

“After interest rates rose, it felt like investors abandoned the market for a while,” she remarked. “The surge in interest rates prompted many to think about other investments, but now that the markets are anticipating a drop in interest rates, people are yet again seeing potential in real estate investments.”

“The long-running decline in real estate prices will definitely draw real estate investors back to the market.”

Statistics Finland on 3 May reported that the prices of old dwellings in housing companies fell by 5.1 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, including by 6.3 per cent in the capital region. The fall was steep particularly for dwellings with at least three rooms: 7.4 per cent nationwide, 8.6 per cent in large towns and 9.4 per cent in the capital region.

The number of sales brokered by real estate agencies, meanwhile, decreased 12 per cent from the previous year.

OP on Monday pointed out that applications for buy-to-let mortgages have varied wildly in recent years. While the number of applications was markedly low in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, the following year was busier than this year.

Overall, the financial group registered a nearly 10-per-cent year-on-year increase in housing loan applications between January and March. OP is the largest provider of housing loans in Finland.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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