Tenants increasingly looking for attractive high-quality fittings
Finland’s rental housing market is growing and diversifying. Attitudes towards rental housing have changed, and rented housing is increasingly a conscious ch¬¬oice rather than a last resort. As the number of tenants grows and diversifies, the requirements and expectations for rental apartments also change. Tenants now appreciate high-quality materials, a good range of comprehensive equipment and pleasantness.
At Realia Management, we regularly survey tenants’ expectations and attitudes. In our latest survey, attractiveness emerged as the most important criterion when choosing a rental apartment, whereas up till now location was the dominant consideration. Almost everyone living in rented housing appreciates the cleanliness and aesthetics of the apartment, which depend on high-quality material choices, for example. Functional and up-to-date fittings are also important.
The average size of housing in cities is continually decreasing. Whereas older people want more space and less cramped living, younger people are ready to compromise on the size of the apartment and instead invest in quality. For small apartments, of course, a workable layout is especially important.
Changing attitudes make rental housing increasingly popular
More and more rental apartments are available, with greater variety as well. New construction in growth centres is thriving, with supply exceeding demand in some places. Apartments are available for a wide range of needs, in many kinds of residential areas and for different budgets. In short, I would say that people can now live better in rental housing than before.
Traditionally, the attitude in Finland has been that owning one’s home is the only right way to live. Such thinking is gradually giving way, and rental housing is considered an attractive option even for long-term living. My view is that the approach to rental housing in Finland has become more like that in Central Europe. Flexibility and casualness are important to people, and ownership of housing is considered risky as well as laborious. The younger generation does not necessarily want to tie down their capital in a home.
The change is also reflected in what people expect from an apartment: if rental living is to be the long-term or even permanent choice, then naturally expectations are higher.
Renovate in a planned way and invest in timeless materials
Although Finnish tenants do not expect luxury from an apartment, it is important that the condition of the apartment meets their expectations. For landlords and housing companies, I recommend proactive and well-planned property management and renovation to meet overall requirements.
The surface materials in the apartment should be timeless and of high quality. In addition, a certain level of fittings is gradually becoming a standard. It is worth paying attention to the following considerations:
– Can the materials on large surface areas, such as floors and kitchen countertops, withstand wear and remain pleasant to look at over time? Plastic mats and plastic surfaces are a thing of the past. The choice of materials for large surfaces has an enormous impact on the overall look and pleasantness of an apartment.
– Is there a ceramic cooker or an induction cooker in the kitchen? A dishwasher is already a basic requirement.
– There should be a water connection for a washing machine in the bathroom, and room for a machine.
In future, more and more services will be related to housing, such as shared facilities and pooled cars, more accessible ancillary services for various target groups through digitalisation and faster information networks, and even lobby services, for example. Energy efficiency and a lower carbon footprint can also inform more of the choices of prospective tenants, even in the case of rental housing. Tenants do not have impossibly high expectations – above all, they are looking for a clean, pleasant and functional home. As rental living becomes more common, the demand for high-quality, well-maintained rental housing will remain high!
Jussi Lindholm is director of Realia Management’s rental services. Realia Management currently manages the rental of approximately 35,000 dwellings.