A clear majority of households with a foreign mother tongue live in a rented home. While less than half of the households with a national mother tongue were tenants at the end of 2016, this proportion was three in four for households with a foreign mother tongue. The most common tenure form among households with a foreign mother tongue was state-subsidised housing (37 %), so-called Arava-housing. Of households with a national mother tongue, 18 per cent lived in such flats. The share of state-subsidised housing has been decreasing since 2006 and renting on the free market has become more common among households with a foreign mother tongue. 39 per cent of households with a foreign mother tongue and 27 per cent of other households rented their home on the free market.

Half of the households with a national mother tongue in Helsinki owned their homes while the share was less than one in five among households with a foreign mother tongue. As a rule, households with many members more commonly live in owner-occupied dwellings than one- or two-person households. The percentage of four-person households living in an owner-occupied home was 70 for households with a national mother tongue and 28 for those with a foreign mother tongue. However, only few (13 %) households with a foreign mother tongue and with more than six members had an owner-occupied home.