More people want to live in “the happiest country in the world” than there are houses in which to live.

Finland Voted Happiest Country in World

For five years running, Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

 Finland also came out on top in 2022’s World Happiness Report.  In fact, Finland’s neighbors, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, all ranked in the top ten.

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(“Happiness” was explained by GDP, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of various types of corruptions.)

Finland’s Housing Market

Finland is definitely becoming more urbanized.  Today, more than 70% of the Finnish population of some 5.5M live in urban areas, according to a recent property market report from KTI, a Finnish real estate research firm.

Jani Nieminen, the CEO of Kojamo, Finland’s largest private residential real firm, said, “As people graduate from universities in other cities, they tend to go to Helsinki.  Helsinki is the heart (and capital) of Finland, and most of the new jobs are created there.”

Nieminen, also a major investor in Finland’s residential rental market, believes that Helsinki and other Finnish cities will draw another half million people by 2040.  According to KTI, nearly 80,000 new housing units have been added since 2019.

Demand Far Exceeds Supply

Ownership properties are hard to come by in Finland.  According to data from the Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies, a record high of 85,000+ residential transactions were recorded in 2021 on top of the 75,000 transactions that closed in 2020.

Annukka Mickelsson, the chief executive of the Federation, said, “The pace of selling a house today is close to what it was in 2014, which was the fastest market since the financial crash of 2008.  People are understanding that you need to have financing ready and be fast in your decisions.”

Manna Satuli, an agent who specializes in ultra-lux properties with Snellman Sotheby’s International Realty, backed up Mickelsson by saying, “I’ve sold everything that I could get (my hands on.)”


The average price/square foot for existing apartments in Helsinki in 2021 was $604/sq. ft. and $650/sq. ft. for new apartments.  Buyers tend to buy shares in housing companies, similar to housing coops.

Rentals outnumber owner-occupied units in Helsinki where prices run $2.31/sq. ft. in existing buildings and higher in newly constructed units.

KFI’s Nieminen said, “We get a lot of people who could buy but are choosing not to.  They prefer the effortlessness of rental apartments.”

Who’s Buying in Finland?

In 2019, just a very small percentage, approximately 8%, of buyers in Finland were foreign primarily from France, Austria and the US.  Today, however, large international investors are looking for new opportunities and “willing to pay more aggressive prices,” said Nieminen.

Non-EU buyers must apply to Finland’s Ministry of Defence for permission to buy Finnish real estate but permission is not required to buy housing shares.

Agent commissions are variable with digital agents charging as little as 1% and traditional agents charging up to 4.5%.  Legal representation is suggested “to make sure everything goes by the book.”

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Thanks to The New York Times.


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