Questions and answers of actual topics from real estate industry/Finland to foreign clients that are considering to be active in the field in Finland:

 

-- Is it customary for buyers and sellers to use real estate agents there in Finland? 

Sellers use real estate agents very often, buyers rather seldom. So, it is quite customary  to use real estate agents in Finland. Our estimate is that their’s share of all transactions is 70-80 per cent.

 

-- Is it customary for the buyer to hire a lawyer to handle the purchase transaction?

Foreign buyers, especially Russians, or domestic high-net worth clients in case of valuable property may use also lawyers. In general, lawyers are not used very often for basic housing transactions. In general you can say, that the real estate agent is in key role in the transaction-process in Finland.

 

-- Are there any restrictions on foreign buyers in Finland?

In theory, no. From beginning of 2000, there is no restrictions to foreigners to buy real estates in Finland.  In practice funding of the purchase may sometimes be difficult unless the buyer is intending to move to Finland.

 

-- Is there anything about the buying process that is particular to Helsinki (vs. Finland as a whole)?

In Helsinki, the selling times are shorter than in the rest of the Finland. In Helsinki there are some apartment-types (=so-called Hitas-apartments), that have some price-limitations. In some apartments, there is controlled income-levels: if your income is too high, you cannot get that kind of apartment.  You have to also keep in mind, that here you do not own the right to rent an apartment, like in some other countries.

 

-- What are the main fees involved in a purchase? How much should buyers plan to spend on fees (as a percentage of the purchase price)?

In addition to property transfer tax (not a fee), there are no fixed or other fees included. In case the buyer engages a lawyer, a cost of 500-1000 euros should be customary. Should the buyer engage a buying agent, fees could be for instance around 1-3,5 % of the purchase price.

In Housing companies transfer-tax is 2 per cent of unencumbered selling price. If byer is 18 – 39 years old and apartment is his/hers first own apartment , he/she is free from value added tax . In real estates value transfer tax is 4 per cent.  In addition in real estates buying process You must pay legal confirmation possession fee, which is  EUR 119  (without 24 % value added tax)  per real estate.

 

-- Can foreigners obtain a mortgage there?

Foreigner can obtain a mortgage in Finland. In practice, this depends on the bank and the securities, that are required. Without a permanent residence the obtainining of a mortgage can face sometimes some challenges.

 

-- Who are the foreigners buying these days in Helsinki (what countries are they from)?

In addition to Russians, mostly the buyer come probably from European Union –area and very typically near-by-Finland -countries like Estonia and Sweden.

The first larger investors and funds from Europe and USA investing to the Finnish residential rental housing marked have started to land to the bigger cities of Finland during 2016 and 2017. 

In eastern parts of Helsinki also the people, that have refugee-background, have also been starting to purchase apartments and houses during the latest years.  

The Russian people have been typically active in buying the free time homes especially near the Eastern border of Finland. 

 

In Helsinki 7th of September 2017

Jukka Malila
CEO
The Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies KVKL
(Kiinteistönvälitysalan Keskusliitto ry)
www.kvkl.fi