A clear majority of households with foreign background live in a rented home. While less than half of the households with Finnish background were tenants at the end of 2018, this proportion was three in four for households with foreign background. The most common tenure form among households with foreign background has long been subsidised rental housing (37 % in 2018), so-called Arava dwellings built with state-subsidised loans, or dwellings built with interest subsidies. Of households with Finnish background, 17 per cent lived in such dwellings. The share of state-subsidised housing has been decreasing since 2006 and private rental dwellings have become more common. In 2018, 40 per cent of households with foreign background and 28 per cent of households with Finnish background rented their home from a private landlord.
Half of the households with Finnish background in Helsinki owned their homes while the share was less than one in five among households with foreign background. As a rule, households with many persons more commonly live in owned dwellings than one- or two-person households. The percentage of four-person households living in an owned dwelling was 72 for households with Finnish background and 27 for those with foreign background. However, only few (11 %) households with foreign background and with more than five members own the dwelling.
The proportion of households with foreign background living in ARA dwellings varies between districts
At the end of 2018, the proportion of households living in ARA rental dwellings in Helsinki was 19.6 per cent. The proportion of households with Finnish background living in ARA rental dwellings was a somewhat lower, 17.3 per cent, while the proportion of households with foreign background was clearly higher, 39.5 per cent. However, the proportion of households living in ARA rental dwellings varied between the districts.
ARA rental housing was most common in Jakomäki, where 60 per cent of the households lived in ARA rental dwellings, whereas it was least common in areas close to the inner city. In districts with more than 2,000 households living in ARA rental dwellings, the lowest proportion of households living in ARA rental dwellings was in the districts of Haga (17 %) and Kampinmalmi (12 %).
The proportion of households with foreign background living in ARA rental dwellings was, unexpectedly, essentially higher in areas where the proportion of ARA rental housing was high, 64 per cent in the district of Jakomäki and 48 per cent in the district of Mellunkylä. However, there were some areas in Helsinki, where households with foreign background living in ARA rental dwellings were clearly over-represented. Such areas, and quantitatively significant districts (i.e. at least 300 households with foreign background living in ARA rental dwellings), were the districts of Maunula, Pukinmäki, Malmi, Laajasalo, Suutarila and Reijola. In these districts, 60 per cent or more of the households with foreign background lived in ARA rental dwellings, with the exception of the districts of Laajasalo and Reijola, where the proportions were 46 per cent (Laajasalo) and 45 per cent (Reijola), while the corresponding proportion of households with Finnish background was considerably lower, usually between 20-30 per cent.
Quantitatively, the highest number of households with foreign background living in ARA rental dwellings was in the districts of Mellunkylä (2,200), Vuosaari (1,500) and Herttoniemi (770), i.e. districts with the highest number of households living in ARA rental dwellings: 7,300 in Mellunkylä, 4,800 in Vuosaari and 4,500 in Herttoniemi.
Finally, it should be noted that although ARA rental dwellings are allocated to applicant households with the most urgent housing needs, limited means and lowest incomes, some applicants who meet the ARA resident selection criteria now however also apply for non-subsidised rental housing. This is, mainly due to an inexpensive (and possibly low quality, if renovations have been put off) rental housing stock released from the ARA regulation, which has become available during the last few years. In terms of statistics, households living in the non-subsidised rental housing stock are more challenging due to their heterogeneity, and in order to obtain a clearer picture, instead of the dwelling more information would be needed, for example, about the financial situation of the household and/or the subsidies received.