House next door to Santa Claus: real estate in Finland

In the rating of the states whose real estate was in the highest demand among Russians during 2011, Finland took the honorable fourth place, losing only to such recognized leaders as Bulgaria, Germany and Spain.

Majestic cliffs and picturesque forests attract travelers from different countries, and thanks to the fact that with an area of ​​338 thousand square kilometers, only about 5 million people live in the country, real estate buyers have great opportunities for privacy and vast spaces that are potential building sites.

Almost two thirds of this northern country is covered with forest, another third is located in the Arctic zone, which makes Finland the “greenest” state in Europe.

The common border of Finland with Russia is more than 1.2 thousand kilometers; Russians can get to the new property quickly and easily, by plane, train, bus or car. The climate of the country is very similar to the climate of the northern regions of Russia, so there is not even a talk about any period of acclimatization.

Due to the increasing popularity of buying a registered private country house, the untouched nature of Finland makes purchasing a cottage or house in this country an increasingly attractive option for Russians.

Features of the real estate market in Finland

Residents of Russia who decide to become the owners of real estate in Finland are primarily interested in private houses, country cottages located in picturesque corners of nature. This is due not only to the desire to live as close to nature as possible, but also to the fact that the purchase of housing in an apartment building in Finland is associated with the need to purchase shares from a housing cooperative. Such a procedure is still unusual for residents of Russia and has its own legal subtleties, for example, it is necessary to inquire about the results of the activities of the housing joint-stock company for the past reporting period, the costs of maintaining the house, the timing of the last major repairs. Without delving into all these features, a foreign buyer runs the risk of becoming the owner of a seemingly inexpensive apartment, which in a year will require significant costs.

Real estate in areas as close as possible to the border, located in the southeast of the country, for example, in South and North Savo and South and North Karelia, is especially popular with buyers from Russia..

Due to the fact that houses in Finland are usually purchased for recreation, apartments and mansions in the capital of the state, Helsinki, are not very popular. In Finnish cities, only those foreigners who plan to work or run their own business buy housing.

It should be noted that the Finnish capital is a unique city, more than a third of its territory is occupied by parks and squares, so, despite the status of a “millionaire”, Helsinki remains a very green and surprisingly clean city.

Features of the real estate market in Finland
Bernhard Vogel. Helsinki Harbor with the cathedral

The average cost of apartments in Helsinki ranges from 2 to 4 thousand euros and depends on the class of housing and the prestige of the area. According to experts from real estate agencies, since 1997 the value of real estate in Helsinki has grown by 80% and continues to increase slightly, but steadily..

The most expensive are apartments in houses built at the beginning of the last century, which are located in the historical part of the city, in the Kaivopusto area. In second place is housing in new buildings, the most inexpensive are apartments in typical blocks built in 1960-1980. So, for a square meter of housing with an improved layout in a new building, you will have to pay about 4 thousand euros, and a “square” in an ordinary house on the outskirts will cost 2 thousand euros. The cost of housing can also increase the view from the home window. Apartments with a view of the sea usually cost an order of magnitude more expensive than those that do not have such a pleasant feature..

In Helsinki, you can become the owner of not only an apartment, but also a separate mansion, as well as a townhouse.

In other large Finnish cities – Turku and Tampere, the cost of apartments is slightly lower than in the capital, for example, a one-room apartment in a “not prestigious” area of ​​the city will cost the buyer 40-50 thousand euros. In provincial cities, in particular, attracting Russians by the close location of Imatra, for a spacious two-room apartment in the secondary housing market, you will have to pay the same 40 thousand euros.

On the outskirts of Imatra, houses ranging from 50 to 70 square meters cost about 80-90 thousand euros and are becoming more and more popular among buyers from Russia, since some houses are only a few kilometers away from the border.

Also in demand among Russians are houses in Lapeeranta, Kotka, attracting by their location, there is a demand for real estate in Lapland, the ski resorts of Levi, Pyha and Kuokati. The cost of cottages and houses here is quite affordable (in comparison with Moscow and St. Petersburg standards) – for a house with an area of ​​110 square meters, with a sauna, a garage, equipped with all the necessary kitchen, a large well-groomed plot, with 4 bedrooms, just 9 kilometers from Kotka, the buyer will pay about 150 thousand euros. By the way, there are saunas in Finland not only in cottages and country houses, but even in apartments. However, this may not be a personal sauna, but a communal one, the scrupulous Finns have calculated that over 625 thousand saunas have been built in the country, and this does not include those built in private houses..

A cottage located in Lapland, in one of the prestigious ski resorts in the region, will cost the new owner from 200 to 300 thousand euros. The proximity of infrastructure facilities, for example, a water park or an entertainment, sports center, can increase the value of real estate in Finnish resorts.

Interestingly, among the mass of proposals existing on the Finnish real estate market, there are practically no luxury villas and three-story mansions with a gigantic area and a price of more than 1 million euros. Most of the cottages offered to the buyer are medium-sized houses with prices ranging from 50 to 200 thousand euros. Perhaps that is why Finland is not yet so popular with millionaires who prefer Miami and the Cote d’Azur..

The procedure for buying real estate in Finland

In Finland, there are no restrictions for foreign citizens when buying real estate, the only exceptions are agricultural land and real estate objects located in certain border areas..

Property tax is 4% of the transaction amount, however, if the house is purchased for the first time and for permanent residence in the country, the buyer will be exempt from the tax. However, the new owner is not exempt from the annual tax in the amount of 0.5-1% of the appraised value of the apartment or house..

The procedure for buying real estate in Finland
Kalervo Palsa. Fresh snow. 1972

The procedure for purchasing real estate in Finland usually begins with the selection of an object from a database of real estate agencies (traditionally, all transactions with Finnish real estate are carried out only with the help of professional intermediaries). After choosing a house, cottage, townhouse or apartment, the potential buyer goes to Finland to personally inspect the object of the transaction. If the desire to become the owner of this property has not disappeared, then the buyer makes an advance payment of about 10% of the transaction amount to confirm the seriousness of his intentions. The cost of agency services is usually 4% of the cost of the object, if the contract for the provision of real estate services is signed in Russia, then the display of houses in Finland is free of charge, otherwise realtors will not transport a potential buyer around the country for free, you will have to pay the cost of gasoline and services separately for demonstration of objects.

After the choice is made and the deposit has been made, the agency proceeds to the paperwork: the buyer’s passport and other papers are translated into Finnish, and a lawyer from Finland draws up a preliminary sales contract, which is then necessarily translated into Russian. Also, the buyer is provided with an extract from the real estate register, a detailed plan of the object and a certificate of the absence of encumbrances, these documents are also translated into Russian.

The final settlement of the transaction is made from the buyer’s personal account, if there is none yet, open a current account in Finland.

All settlements with the intermediary agency are completed before the signing of the purchase and sale agreement. When signing the contract, a notary must be present, in addition to real estate tax, the buyer will also have to pay more minor payments: stamp duty, payment for sending documents for registration and the formation of a package of documents. The final stage of the transaction, which usually takes about 1 month, is obtaining a certificate of entry into the state register of real estate owners.

In the future, the cost of maintaining the house will consist of two components: the annual payment for cleaning the adjacent territory, as well as utility bills for electricity and water. Owners of private houses in Finland pay about 100 euros every year to clean and repair the roads that lead directly to their homes. The average utility bills are 6 euros per 1 square meter per year, that is, the maintenance of a cottage with an area of ​​100 square meters will cost 600 euros per year, which is even less than utility bills in Russia. Low maintenance costs of real estate can also be called another plus of buying a house in Finland.

Foreign buyers are also allowed to rent out their house or apartment in Finland, while paying 28% income tax. However, today such a business does not bring too much profit, and most of the Russians who buy apartments in the country of “Thousand Lakes” do it for personal use..

Citizens of other countries who become the owners of Finnish real estate are automatically entitled to a multiple-entry visa with the ability to stay in the country for 180 days a year for themselves and their family members. After buying the house, the owner receives confirmation from the community about the ownership and can apply to the Consulate for a visa valid for 2 years. Since Finland is a member of the Schengen Agreement, such a visa will allow you to travel to other countries of the European Union.

It is impossible not to mention the possibility of obtaining a mortgage loan – usually the bank repays 70% of the transaction amount, that is, the buyer must have enough funds in his account to pay a down payment of 30% of the value of the house. Mortgage rate for Finnish citizens – 4%, for non-residents – 8%.

In addition, sometimes Russians buy land (usually on the shore of a lake or river) intended for the construction of a residential building. This option cannot be called more economical, the cost of the construction project is about 5 thousand euros, taking into account the prices for the most popular building material in Finland – wood – and the payment for the contractor’s services, 1 square meter of the cottage will cost the owner 2.5-3 thousand euros, even higher than the average value of real estate in the country. The advantages of this option can be called the fact that the new house will exactly meet all the customer’s requirements, and the choice of land plots in Finland is quite large.

Experts note that the purchase of real estate in Finland cannot be called a profitable investment that will quickly pay off or begin to generate income, since the possibilities of providing cottages for rent are limited by ski resorts. So far, no sharp increase in the value of objects is also expected. Despite this, houses in this cozy, quiet, green and so close country are in demand, because it is so nice to allow yourself to go on vacation to your own house near a clean lake and name Santa himself among your closest neighbors.

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