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Wishlist for municipal decision-makers: Wallet-friendly housing through sufficient land use planning, complementary construction and atmosphere of innovation

Apr 5, 2017

SATO Corporation, Press release, 5th April 2017 at 11:55 am.

In the run-up to Finland's local elections, the housing investment company SATO hopes to see the new municipal decision-makers to ensure sufficient and permissive land use planning, bolster complementary construction and promote an atmosphere of innovation in urban construction. According to SATO, these are the three things that will facilitate the construction of sufficient housing stock and, consequently, homes that are affordable to consumers.

- The housing policy debate in the run-up to the local elections has been sound and constructive. Everyone knows that even according to the moderate scenario provided by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland around 600,000 homes will need to be constructed in Finland's growth centres by 2040. Things are moving in the right direction at the moment, and efforts must be made to also ensure in the future that the housing construction rate won't slow down or put a block on urban development, says President and CEO Saku Sipola from SATO.

According to Sipola, new, concrete measures are also needed to maintain the rate of development. Sufficient and permissive land use planning, bolstering complementary construction and creating an atmosphere or innovation are listed by Sipola as the most important ones of these.

- Consumers need wallet-friendly housing. The most efficient way to contribute towards this is sufficient and more permissive land use planning that ensures sufficient supply of housing. Local detailed plans are legal documents with a long period of validity that have become too detailed and therefore get out of date rather quickly. An excessive level of detail results not only in expensive construction but also in an expensive process as the plans, including the numerous studies and reports involved, are drawn up several times.

 
Another key solution pointed out by Sipola is complementary construction based on existing infrastructure, which makes it ecological, reduces municipal infrastructure investments and improves local services as the number of residents increases.

- Some cities are abolishing the complementary construction compensation for those occupying plots of land leased from the city. This will reduce interest among local players in making land use more efficient, Sipola says.

The third important issue according to Sipola is promoting an atmosphere of innovation.

- Many challenges such as flexibility in the number of car parking spaces can be solved in the planning phase. With car usage rates getting lower in areas with good urban public transport services, the number of private cars will get smaller in the future. A potential solution could be to have block-specific high-quality multi-storey car parks that could later be repurposed or replaced by residential buildings. A solution like this would be more flexible and innovative than expensive underground parking facilities that increase apartment prices and have no alternative use in the future.

Sipola believes that new innovations are currently often rejected in the planning phase simply because certain solutions have never been implemented before.

For more information please contact:

SATO Corporation

Saku Sipola, President and CEO, phone +358 201 34 4001 or +358 40 551 5953

Miia Eloranta, Director, Marketing and Communications, phone +358 201 34 4497 or +358 50 441 4221

www.sato.fi/en 

SATO is one of Finland's leading rental housing providers. SATO's aim is to offer comprehensive alternatives in rental housing and an excellent customer experience. SATO holds roughly 25,300 apartments in Finland's largest growth centres and in St Petersburg.

In our operations, we promote sustainable development and initiative-taking, and work in open interaction with our stakeholders to create added value. We operate profitably and with a long-term view. We increase the value of our housing property through investments, divestments and repair work.

SATO Group's net sales in 2016 were €318.0 million, operating profit €267.2 million and profit before taxes €219.4 million. SATO's investment properties have a value of roughly €3.4 billion.

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