Two rental housing trends reflected in SATO data too: Rental housing in city centres and residential districts remains popular − Most rental households have one or two members

8 December 2022

The most popular residential areas are found in growth centre districts and areas close to city centres. One in three SATO tenants live alone.

In late October, Statistics Finland released data on types of housing in Finland*, with two trends emerging from the statistics: the number of both those renting a home and those living alone is increasing. These trends can also be seen in data collected by SATO, one of Finland’s largest rental housing providers**.

Population growth continues in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Tampere and Turku, and already almost half of the households in these cities live in a rental home. There are several reasons behind the popularity of renting a home in growth centres, including demographic change, the uncertainties of working life and the differentiated price development of owner-occupied homes: Outside growth centres, the real prices of homes are declining, which makes acquiring an owner-occupied home in a growth centre even more challenging for people coming from those areas. Attitudes towards home ownership have also changed. The current economic uncertainty as well as higher consumer prices and interest rates are also in part reflected in the growing demand for rental homes.

“Many people looking for a home are currently worried about the surging energy prices and interest rates, and in an uncertain economic situation renting a home from a reliable rental housing provider is indeed a safe option, as renters do not need to worry about price pressures in the same way as home owners do,” says SATO Chief Commercial Officer Janne Ojalehto.

“Although competition for tenants is still intense between rental housing providers, there is demand for rental homes that have access to good public transport connections, especially the metro and train lines, and are close to services. Recent years have seen the construction of a large number of new homes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in particular, which means renters have plenty of choice at the moment. For example, there are great opportunities for finding just the right home in the areas served by 'Länsimetro', the Western section of the metro track,” says Ojalehto.

Most rental households have one or two members

Approximately 80% of residents in Helsinki already live in households with one to two members***, and the proportion of small households continues to grow. The trend of small households and living alone becoming more common is also reflected in data collected by SATO, with around two thirds of the company’s 50,000 residents living in a household of either one or two members. A third of the households are families or shared households with three or more members.

“Those living alone swap or at least consider swapping their rental home more easily than families. More than 60% of our applicants apply for an apartment on their own. However, there is strong demand for family homes, too, and families look for homes outside city centres in particular, which is where homes often also are larger and rents lower,” says Ojalehto.

Household sizes vary from one area to another. One in three SATO residents live alone. According to SATO data, the smallest households can be found in central Helsinki’s Töölö and Kaivopuisto-Ullanlinna districts, which is where the number of those living alone is higher than the average for the area. Kauklahti in Espoo, Kauniainen, Jollas in Helsinki and Laajalahti in Espoo are also districts where SATO homes have more people living alone than on average in the area.

In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, families and larger households can be found in Northern and Eastern Helsinki’s Puistola-Heikinlaakso, Itäkeskus and Malmi districts as well as in West Pasila, where SATO data also shows some shared households of multiple adults, i.e. home-sharers. In Espoo, families can be found in districts including Espoonlahti, Lintuvaara and Leppävaara, and in Vantaa in Myyrmäki and Hakunila.

“The most popular residential districts vary depending on the current supply of rental housing. There is, however, enough demand for both city-centre homes as well as homes located in other districts,” says Ojalehto.

Most popular districts in Helsinki Metropolitan Area

1. Vallila
2. Lauttasaari
3. Pasila
4. Myllypuro
5. Kalasatama
6. Koivukylä
7. Kurkimäki
8. Oulunkylä
9. North Haaga
10. Tapulikaupunki

Most popular residential districts in Tampere

1. Kaleva
2. Vuores
3. Lielahti

Most popular residential districts in Turku

1. City Centre
2. Kupittaa
3. Portsa

Number of rental housing applications in relation to apartments available to rent, situation in November 2022, source: SATO customer and property information system

* Statistics Finland, dwellings and housing conditions
** SATO customer and property information system, November 2022
*** Statistics, dwellings and housing in Helsinki

For media enquiries, please contact:

SATO Corporation, Janne Ojalehto, Chief Commercial Officer
phone +358 50 500 4310,

SATO Corporation is an expert in sustainable rental housing and one of Finland’s largest rental housing providers. SATO owns around 25,000 rental homes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Tampere and Turku.

SATO aims to provide an excellent customer experience and a comprehensive range of urban rental housing alternatives with good access to public transport and services. We promote sustainable development and work in open interaction with our stakeholders. SATO invests profitably, sustainably and with a long-term view. We increase the value of our assets through investments, divestments and repairs.

In 2021, SATO Group’s net sales totalled EUR 298.3 million, operating profit EUR 304.5 million and profit before taxes EUR 259.4 million. The value of SATO’s investment properties is around EUR 5 billion.