Operating environment

General operating environment

Slow improvements were being seen in the European economy during the review period. Growth in the US economy, a fall in the price of oil, and reflationary fiscal policies supported favourable developments in the world economy. In March, the European Central Bank launched an expanded asset purchase programme for euro-zone sovereign bonds, which weakened the euro and thereby strengthened euro-zone exports. However, political risks overshadowed economic development.

Consumer confidence remained low. Both private households and companies are cautious in their investment decisions. This was seen in, for example, demand for owner-occupied apartments and construction investments. During early 2015, the prices of old owner-occupied apartments fell slightly throughout the country. In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, prices rose slightly on the corresponding period of 2014.

Interest rates remained exceptionally low.

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. There was still clear demand for new homes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

New construction clearly focused on privately financed rental apartments. There were no noticeable changes in the price level of either new construction or renovations.
The market situation for the construction of owner-occupied apartments enabled better-than-average implementation of negotiated contracts for rental housing development.

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