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Working life has transformed. Will housing follow?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of Finns and made home the centre of our lives—at least for the time being.
This has had an effect on sales in certain sectors. For example, the cumulative growth of the hardware store sector was 6% in the first part of the year (source) and Fiskars garden scissors were a popular item among shoppers in the summer (source).
YIT apartments are also selling nicely, as can be seen in our latest interim statement.
Staying at home, working remotely and the other social distancing measures have their positives and negatives, as we have all seen this year. However, I’m sure we can all agree that we should be thankful for the good housing conditions in Finland (ranked the best in Europe in this article) and our relatively new building stock.
Time will tell how permanent these new changes will be.
Personally, I believe that working will become less bound to a specific time and place. We have taken a huge digital leap this year—which has also been a leap of trust. Thanks to the effective remote connections, business travel is another area I expect to decline permanently.
One of the long-term effects of the coronavirus might be, at least for knowledge work specialists, an increased freedom of choice. In my own work, an interesting question is how this will be reflected in housing. For example, through increased home offices.
The results of our latest Sustainable urban environments barometer shed some light on the matter. The barometer was carried out for the third time in September 2020.
The barometer revealed, among other things, that around half of the respondents living in large cities had renewed (renovated/reorganised/redecorated) their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The respondents named nature, services and good transport links as the most important pull factors of urban environments. The ideal workplace is so close to home that you can get there on foot or by bike. On the other hand, the responses also show an increased interest in remote work. During the coronavirus pandemic, more and more residents in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa have thought about moving to a smaller municipality in the capital region.
In short, people have different ideals, plans and objectives when it comes to housing. In the big picture, urbanisation seems like it will continue as before, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the long term.
The coronavirus has forced us to change our lives while, on the other hand, given us an opportunity to think about what is really important. For many of us, the answer is health, our loved ones and home.
I hope that the majority of us can live as we want, now and in the future, make our dream homes a reality and pave the way for the future of housing with our choices.
Working life has transformed. Who knows, maybe housing will follow. We are anxious to be part of the change.