Housing programmes and strategy

The Finnish Government takes various kinds of action to build more housing, as stated in the Government Programme, with the aim to:

  • boost economic growth and employment,
  • renew the dwelling stock,
  • respond to the demand for housing,
  • promote competition in the building sector,
  • increase freedom of choice in housing, and
  • respond to structural changes in housing needs.

Maskot, Picture Agency Gorilla

More housing to be built

The Government will amend, improve and abolish rules and regulations concerning housing construction and promote economically feasible maintenance of the building stock on a long-term basis. The aim is to significantly increase the supply of housing and building plots.

The current and future needs to be taken into account include migration, population ageing, growing numbers of single residents, municipal business strategies, and climate and business policy perspectives. The aim is also to encourage citizens’ own initiative in housing arrangements. The reforms concern both market-driven and state-subsidised housing production.

Housing production is to be increased especially in the Helsinki region and other growth centres, which serve as driving forces for the economy of the surrounding region. Boosting the housing market and labour mobility improves the conditions for regional economies to grow. The aim for the municipalities is to reconcile the land use, housing and transport solutions under the so-called MAL Agreements concerning land use, housing and transport between the state and local governments.

Affordable housing

State-subsidised housing production is the only part of the dwelling stock where the rents are regulated. In the growth centres, especially in the Helsinki region, more of both non-subsidised housing and subsidised, affordable rental housing is needed.

Under the Government key project ‘Housing construction will be increased’ the Ministry of the Environment has introduced a mid-term model for the next ten year to promote the production of affordable rental housing. The new model is available to all builders who meet the eligibility criteria and commit to these. The rules concerning housing construction for general interest have been changed: the general interest requirement does not concern new production and it is applied on a case-by-case basis only, in which case the requirements are stricter than before. Restrictions regarding the use and sale of the existing state-subsidised dwelling stock are relaxed, provided that the capital released is used for state-subsidised housing production or repairs of such housing.

The long-term 40-year interest-rate subsidy model for building and renovation of affordable rental and right-of-occupancy housing has been developed so that the system works well, the state subsidies and restrictions relating to the use of dwellings are in balance, and the subsidy scheme encourages builders to increase the production of affordable housing. Right-of-occupancy housing is renewed as an independent type of housing ownership with regard to the financing, selection of residents and application process. During the Government term solutions are also sought to the problem of unoccupied dwellings resulting from population decline. Better opportunities for teleworking, lower emissions from transport and smart grids enable working and living in all parts of the country.

Housing for the elderly

The age structure of the Finnish population is changing, with the proportion of elderly people increasing fast. To enable the elderly to continue living safely in their own homes for as long as possible, their housing needs must be taken into account in residential buildings.

The implementation of the measures of the Government housing development programme for older population for 2013–2017 continues. The measures include renovation of the existing dwelling stock, development of new housing solutions and service housing as well as residential areas from the perspective of the elderly, and questions relating to services in support of housing.

The act on subsidies for the renovation of dwellings and residential buildings has been revised. The aim is to give older people better possibilities to live at home and promote the accessibility of residential buildings.

Special groups

Housing policy aims to improve the housing conditions of groups of people in need of special support. These include old people in poor health condition or suffering from memory disabling diseases, homeless people, people with disabilities or undergoing rehabilitation for substance abuse or mental health problems, and students and the young. The construction and renovations of dwellings for these special groups may be eligible for investment subsidies.

Every person with intellectual and developmental disabilities has the right to live in the same way as other people. The society must offer them the opportunity to live in individual housing instead of an institution or their childhood home. The objective is that by 2020 no persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be living in institutions. Housing construction for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who move away from institutions or their parents’ home may be eligible for the investment subsidy for special groups.

Long-term homelessness is to be eradicated from Finland and adequate support must be provided in housing issues. Work to reduce homelessness continues under the Action Programme to Prevent Homelessness 2016–2019, adopted as a Government Resolution on 9 June 2016.

Published 2013-07-09 at 10:51, updated 2018-07-20 at 14:21