Free-time Residences 2015

Varsinais-Suomi was the region with the highest number of free-time residences in 2015

According to Statistics Finland, there were 501,600 free-time residences in Finland in 2015. Mikkeli was the municipality with most free-time residence, 10,349. Kuopio, Parainen, Lohja and Savonlinna had the next highest numbers of free-time residences. The order of municipalities with the highest number of free-time residences remained unchanged.

Varsinais-Suomi was the region with the highest number of free-time residences in 2015 The region of Varsinais-Suomi had a total of around 49,400 free-time residences, and the number of free-time residences also exceeded 45,000 in the regions of Etelä-Savo and Pirkanmaa. The regions of Central Ostrobothnia and Åland had the lowest numbers of free-time residences. There were 3,900 free-time residences in Central Ostrobothnia and 6,300 in Åland.

Figure 1. Number of free-time residences by region in 2015

Figure 1. Number of free-time residences by region in 2015

The density of free-time residences in the municipality can also be described by comparing their number with that of permanently occupied dwellings. Then the municipalities richest in free-time residences were places that had a relatively low number of population and a high number of free-time residences. At the end of 2015, altogether 63 municipalities had more free-time residences than permanently occupied dwellings. Such municipalities with a high number of free-time residences included Parainen, Mäntyharju, Kemiönsaari and Pälkäne. As the number of permanent residents decreases, the number of summer residents becomes emphasised in ever more municipalities. Since 2000, the number of municipalities with a majority of free-time residences has increased by around twenty, when the situation is viewed with the division of municipalities of 2016.

Figure 2. Municipalities with more free-time residences than occupied dwellings in 2015 (those with the highest number of free-time residences)

Figure 2. Municipalities with more free-time residences than occupied dwellings in 2015 (those with the highest number of free-time residences)

Stock of free-time residences grew most in the 1980s

At the end of 2015, the number of free-time residences was 501,600. The number increased by 1,174 from the previous year, part of which were newbuildings and part changes in the purpose of use.

The number of free-time residences has increased fastest in the 1980s. In 1990, there were 368,000 free-time residences, which is 46 per cent more than in 1980. From 1970 to 1980, the increase was 75,600, or 43 per cent.

Figure 3. Number of free-time residences in 1970 to 2015

Figure 3. Number of free-time residences in 1970 to 2015

The rate of construction of free-time residences has been slowing down continuously since the early years of the 1990s. Whereas, roughly 8,000 free-time residences were built every year in the early 1990s, in recent years the pace has halved. Through the 1990s, the stock of free-time residences grew by around 20 per cent. This is clearly by less than in the 1970s and 1980s, when the stock increased by over 40 per cent per decade.

Altogether 2,200 new free-time residences completed per year

Over 4,000 new free-time residential buildings have been completed per year in the 2000s. However, fewer new free-time residences are being built. The 2015 building stock contained around 2,200 new free-time residences completed in 2015. All completed free-time residences are not necessarily included in the register data due to data system revisions. In the previous year, the number of newbuildings was 3,466.

During 2015, the highest numbers of new free-time residences were built in Varsinais-Suomi and Lapland. By municipality, the highest numbers of new free-time residences were built in Kuusamo, Parainen, Kemiönsaari, and Kuopio: over 30 in the year in each.

Figure 4. Regions with highest numbers of new free-time residences built in 2015

Figure 4. Regions with highest numbers of new free-time residences built in 2015

Building of free-time residences liveliest in Lapland, Etelä-Savo and Varsinais-Suomi

In recent years, newbuilding has been liveliest in the regions of Lapland, Etelä-Savo and Varsinais-Suomi, where, on average, around 400 new free-time residences have been built annually in the 2000s.

Since 1990, the stock of free-time residences has grown most in the region of Etelä-Savo, where it has increased by approximately 14,000 since 1990. The stock has changed least in Central Ostrobothnia, where the number of free-time residences has increased only by 1,500 since 1990 and in Åland, the number has increased by around 2,000.

Densest summer house settlement in Kustavi and Kaskinen

Free-time residence density was the highest in Kustavi and Kaskinen, with an average of 15 to 18 free-time residences per square kilometre of land. Eight municipalities had more than ten free-time residences per square kilometre, when the number of free-time residences is compared to the land area of the municipality. The whole country had, on average, 1.7 summer cottages per square kilometre of land. Päijät-Häme, Varsinais-Suomi, Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme and Åland have more than four free-time residences per square kilometre. In North and Central Ostrobothnia, as well as Kainuu and Lapland, there was still, on average, less than one free-time residence per square kilometre. In proportion to the land area, Kauniainen, Savukoski, Enontekiö and Utsjoki have the lowest number of free-time residences.

Average size of free-time residences 48 square metres

New free-time residences are larger in floor area than before. The average floor area of free-time residences built in the 2010s was 72 square metres and the median 65 square metres. The average floor area of free-time residences built in 2000 to 2009 was 65 square metres and the median 56 square metres. The average floor are of all free-time residences was 48 square metres in 2015. The known square metres of free-time residences or buildings used as leisure-time housing are included in the average floor size (the floor area of around 18,000 free-time residences is unknown). Large free-time residences and buildings used as leisure-time housing increased the average size to some extent, as the median floor area of all free-time residences was 40 square metres. Thus, one-half of free-time residences still have a floor area of 40 square metres or less. The share of large free-time residences with a floor area of at least 60 square metres was 24 per cent of all free-time residences in 2015. In 1970, the share of such large free-time residences in the stock of free-time residences was 15 per cent.

Table 1. Free-time residences by floor area in 2015

Floor area, m2 Number of free-time residences  %
Free-time  residences,  total 501 596 100,0
– 19 45 818 9,1
20 – 39 180 421 36,0
40 – 59 134 745 26,9
60 – 79 63 345 12,6
80 – 99 29 734 5,9
100 – 29 086 5,8
Unknown 18 447 3,7
Average floor space 48 ,
Median  floor space 40 ,

Nearly 793,000 Finns belong to a household-dwelling unit with a free-time residence

Of all free-time residences, 411,000 were owned by private persons. Around 91,000 free-time residences were owned by heirs, companies, communities or foreigners. In all, almost 793,000 persons belonged to a household-dwelling unit that owned a free-time residence. In many municipalities, summer residents double the population of the municipality in summer.

Free-time residences are usually located near the owner’s permanent residence. In total, 65 per cent of free-time residence owners had a free-time residence in their region of residence. More than 90 per cent of free-time residence owners in Åland, Kainuu, Lapland and North Karelia owned a free-time residence in the region of residence. By contrast, the free-time residences of persons residing in Uusimaa were mainly located in some other region. Only 29 per cent of Uusimaa residents owned free-time residences in Uusimaa. One-third of all free-time residence owners had a free-time residence in their municipality of domicile.

Average age of free-time residence owners is 62 years

The average age of the owners of new free-time residences completed in 2015 was 54 years, while the average age of all owners of free-time residences was 62 years in 2015. Around 23,000, or only seven per cent of all free-time residence owners were aged under 40.

Of all free-time residences, more than 40 per cent were owned by a household-dwelling unitsof two adults and 13 per cent by households with children aged under 18. Sixteen per cent of free-time residences were owned by single-person households and 18 per cent by heirs, companies, communities or the owner was unknown. One-half of the owners of free-time residences lived in detached or semi-detached houses.

Median distance to the free-time residence is 38 kilometres

The average distance between one's home and free-time residence was 91 kilometres and the median was 38 kilometres. Therefore, one-half of journeys to free-time residences were at most 38 kilometres. The median for the journey of those living in Uusimaa to their free-time residences was 131 kilometres and the average 168 kilometres. The median of the journey of people living in Uusimaa to their free-time residences was over three times longer than the median for the entire country and the average nearly double compared with the average for the whole country. The median for the journey of those living elsewhere than in Uusimaa to their free-time residences was 26 kilometres and the average 64 kilometres.

The journey to a free-time residence was calculated for free-time residences owned by private persons. A journey to a free-time residence refers to the linear distance between the permanent residence and free-time residence of the free-time residence owner. In 2015, the distance could be calculated for 70 per cent of the whole stock of free-time residences.


Source: Buildings and Free-time Residences, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marja Hermiö 029 551 3211, Arja Tiihonen 029 551 3272, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 26.5.2016

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Buildings and free-time residences [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-6796. 2015, Free-time Residences 2015 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 15.5.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rakke/2015/rakke_2015_2016-05-26_kat_001_en.html