Viewings have also been quiet in the Capital Region.

Flat prices have continued to climb in the capital region this year. This is in contrast to elsewhere in the country where a slight downward trend has been seen in house prices. Even in the capital region, prices are slightly down compared with last year in certain areas. Helsingin Sanomat compared flat prices in different parts of the capital region, including in its statistics areas where at least 20 flats have been sold this year. New housing estates were not included in the list.

According to Statistics Finland, the prices of houses and flats belonging to a housing company went up by 1.6 per cent during the second quarter of the year compared with last year.

Vast regional differences are seen in the house price trends in the capital region, with prices slightly down in 21 post code areas compared with last year. For this year, price information is only available for the first two quarters of the year.

The steepest increases in prices were seen in the 00620 post code area, which includes, for example, Metsälä. In the area, the average flat prices were up by 14 per cent compared with last year. Another region with rising house prices was the 01350 post code area, which contains Hiekkaharju and Simonkylä in Vantaa.

In contrast, prices were down in the 01480 post code area, which includes Vantaa's Jokivarsi, Mikkola and Metsola. The 02310 post code area including Espoonlahti in Espoo and the 00940 area including Kontula in Helsinki also saw flat prices dropping in comparison with last year.

In the long term, owning a flat in the capital region is profitable as prices have surged by at least a third everywhere in the region since 2005.

Seeking something ready

Seppo Hämäläinen, the managing director of the Kiinteistömaailama estate agents, says that the housing market has recently undergone some structural changes, which are reflected in the statistics. A growing number of house-hunters are after a home that is ready to move in and does not require any work.

"People are shying away from buying large houses that need more done to them than a lick of paint. There is more demand for small places in a top-notch condition, which pushes the square-metre prices up in some areas."

Hämäläinen speculates that price statistics are slightly misleading because the average price for small flats works out more expensive per square metre than for bigger places, which are not sold in large numbers at the moment. Work carried out in the housing company also has a huge effect on flat prices, with flats in housing companies where drains have been recently renovated commanding higher prices.

"New drains immediately increase the square metre price by 900 euros on average."

Eija Miehola, a regional manager at the Huoneostokeskus estate agents, says that studio flats and one-bedroom flats are sought after at the moment. There is also some demand for affordable family flats. "But family flats at the top end of the price range are not sold that often. That shows up in the statistics."

Tuuli Vattulainen – HS
Niina Woolley – HT
Image: Maria Halkilahti / HS