Demand for rental housing remained high in all municipalities where VVO has a presence. As in previous years, the strongest demand centred on smaller apartments, that is, studios and one-bedroom apartments.
The financial occupancy rate remained high, standing at 98.1 (98.5) per cent for the financial year. At the end of the financial year, 451 (228) apartments were vacant due to renovations. The tenant turnover rate, which includes internal transfers, remained at the same level as in the previous year, that is, 25.8 (25.4) per cent.
The total growth in rent revenue during the period was 3.9 (4.8) per cent. The growth in rent revenue was attributable to rent adjustments of 3.5 (3.4) per cent made in March 2014, changes in VVO's housing stock, and rent adjustments in the Lumo product group carried out in connection with new tenants.
The average rent for VVO's housing stock was EUR 12.91 (12.42) per sq m per month during the financial year, and EUR 13.04 (12.56) at year-end. The average rent in apartments where rent can be freely determined – the 26,841 (24,799) apartments in the Market-based product group (Lumo) – was EUR 13.17 (12.68) during the financial year and EUR 13.33 (12.87) at year-end. The corresponding figure for apartments rented at cost price – the 13,952 (15,395) apartments in the cost-principle product group (VVO) – was EUR 12.42 (12.00) during the financial year and EUR 12.49 (12.05) at year-end.
The average period of tenancy remained high, at 5.9 (5.9) years. At the end of the financial year, there were 15,785 (17,847) active applications. (Applications are active for three months.) The average number of active applications per rental agreement termination was 22.9 (25.4). The number of new rental housing applications received during the financial year was 67,528 (71,372). The number of applications was affected by, among other things, the low number of vacated apartments due to scant turnover and a greater transparency in supply due to the revamped online application service.
In spite of the general economic situation, the proportion of turnover accounted for by rent receivables stood at 1.2 (1.3) per cent at the end of the financial year.
VVO’s Customer Service Centre opened in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in April and went nationwide in June. The centre serves both new and existing customers. A further 11 VVO Home Centres also provide local customer service all across Finland.
VVO Group introduced two rental housing brands: Lumo and VVO. Lumo is a market-led rental concept that offers next-generation services for rental housing and gives tenants even more freedom to choose. Apartments covered by the VVO brand are state-subsidised and adhere to the cost-price principle for determining rents.
VVO sought competitive bids to provide broadband and television services to our customers, and signed agreements with DNA and Elisa. These agreements cover close to 39,000 households, which means that the rents for almost all VVO and Lumo apartments will include an even faster 10 megabit broadband connection. The agreements came into force on 1 January 2015 and will be valid until the end of 2019.
The use of electronic signatures has increased steadily throughout Finland. About 60 per cent of all the new tenancy agreements made during the financial year were signed electronically. Approximately 1,000 new tenancy agreements are signed per month.
Residents’ opinions were polled through the annual customer satisfaction survey. The results were excellent, as in the previous year. Residents’ willingness to recommend VVO remained at a record high. No fewer than 92 (92) per cent had already recommended, or would be willing to recommend, VVO as a landlord.
VVO actively engaged in cooperation with residents during the financial year. Nationwide tenant events were organised at, for example, Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki and Särkänniemi amusement park in Tampere. A total of about 20,000 people took part in the year's events.