Sharing a border with Norway, Sweden and Russia, Finland is one of Europe’s most northerly-lying countries, encompassing the Arctic Circle and Lapland. Although Helsinki may not spring to mind when thinking about relocation hotspots, the capital of Finland is a surprisingly popular professional destination in Europe.
As you would expect for a country where many things are magical, bordering the extreme, (including the weather, the Northern Lights, the midnight sun and the ability to drop in on the real Father Christmas), people gravitate to the more temperate cities for everyday living. Occupying a location right at Finland’s most southerly tip, Helsinki has a kinder climate – although residents still revel in satisfyingly reliable snowfall.
Helsinki is Finland’s centre for commerce, industry, academia and politics. It is also home to global businesses including Nokia, Microsoft, Deloitte, KPMG, IBM, PwC and Accenture – together responsible for powering a buoyant employment market. Elsewhere, stunning architecture spanning many styles, a thriving retail sector, a fascinating heritage and a jam-packed cultural programme come together to provide the ‘life’ part of a healthy work-life balance.
When it comes to accommodation, renting is the norm in Helsinki, with approximately 50% of the rental stock state-subsidized and available with no deposit. As you would expect, waiting lists for these properties are long and relocators have a very slim chance of securing one, although our agents will work with the employer to ascertain if there is any existing relationship that could help. Otherwise, rental properties are privately owned by landlords and tend to sit in buildings owned by housing companies.
It’s worth noting that properties to rent in Helsinki are usually offered as a shell, with no light fittings, carpets or white goods. Those that are partially or fully furnished will come at a premium but Klippa can help source options that are turn-key ready and within budget. The monthly rent should also include water rates and property maintenance but other utility bills are for the tenant to pay.
Unsurprisingly, the city centre boasts the most housing options but there are around 600,000 residents in Helsinki and one in six is chasing a rented apartment. As a result, finding accommodation does need a professional steer – even if it’s just to outmanoeuvre the competition. A relocation agent will also help you negotiate an agent’s fees, which is – on average – a commission of one month’s rent plus taxes.
As with London, Helsinki centre is dominated by apartments but it does have a commuter belt and suburbs, where you’ll find larger apartments and houses with gardens. Many professionals with families are happy to travel into Helsinki centre for work, and we can recommend neighbourhoods, such as Vantaa, Toolo, Kamppi and Espoo.
In terms of what you’ll pay, setting up a rental will involve a security deposit that is equivalent to two months’ rent, along with a month’s rent in advance. Monthly rents*, as below, will always be more expensive in Helsinki city centre, with better value-for-money found in outlying areas.
A studio apartment in the city is approximately €960 pcm (per calendar month) and around €730 pcm in an adjacent neighbourhood. A very central one-bedroom furnished apartment will cost in the region of €1,120 pcm, yet less than €850 pcm further out. There’s a steep jump to a two-bedroom apartment in the heart of Helsinki – €2,000 pcm – but the same property in a suburb may cost more like €1,300 pcm. A family-sized three-bedroom apartment in the centre will cost around €2,200, and in the region of €1,500 heading out of the city.
Like any property market, Helsinki is not immune to fluctuations and therefore we encourage contact with Klippa for real-time market updates and rental values. Please get in touch.
*Figures from expatfocus.com