Operating environment

General operating environment

General economic uncertainty persisted, and consumer confidence was lower than average. Growth in the global economy has slowed and the Euro zone sank into deflation towards the end of the year. Economic growth in the Euro zone was weak and interest levels low. The growth outlook for the Finnish economy has also weakened. Both private households and companies are cautious in their investment decisions. Unemployment was also rising. This was seen, in for example, demand for owner-occupied apartments and construction investments. Owner-occupied apartments took longer to sell and prices fell during late 2014.

Industry operating environment

Demand for rental apartments remained at a good level. Business was good for small rental apartments and newly constructed locations, particularly in growth centres. Demand for the most expensive rental apartments continued to decline. There was clear demand for new homes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

New construction clearly focused on privately financed rental apartments. Contractors' prices for new construction fell slightly, while the price level for renovations remained at the same level.
The market situation for the construction of owner-occupied apartments enabled better-than-average implementation of negotiated contracts for rental housing development.

The shortage of suitable plots and the slowness of the zoning process, particularly in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, made it harder to launch the construction of new rental apartments.