VVO celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2014. These years witnessed a broad variety of innovative housing solutions, new modes of residence, and a more proactive voice in rental housing debate. VVO was established in 1969. Our story began in Malminiitty, Vantaa, where we built our first rental apartments. Our Malminiitty property has already undergone major renovations.
VVO achieved the highest turnover in its history, with profit also increasing during the financial year. We are Finland’s largest market-based player, and the number of rental apartments owned by the company has risen to 40,793. This growth will continue. In 2014, we decided to invest over EUR 300 million in new construction, housing acquisitions, and repairs. We also committed to the construction of 1,553 apartments during 2014, and these properties will be built over the coming years.
During the financial year, VVO launched the development of 856 new Lumo apartments, and 1,127 privately financed rental apartments were under construction at year-end.
There were more new construction start-ups than in the previous year, mainly in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area where there is great demand for rental housing. We developed new properties, acquired existing ones, and renovated our housing stock. Our gross investments in 2014 totalled about EUR 200 million.
Our strategic target is to offer a total of 45,000 homes in 35 municipalities to about 80,000 customers by the end of 2018. Our diverse range of homes combine a good location with good public transport connections and services.
Demand for rental housing remained stable in 2014 and our occupancy rate was once again excellent.
In the autumn, we strengthened our corporate image as a provider of versatile apartments and housing services with the introduction of a new rental housing brand. VVO Group now has two brands: VVO and Lumo. The Lumo brand arose from a desire to offer the best possible apartments and services for market-based rental housing. Apartments covered by the VVO brand adhere to the cost-price principle for determining rents.
Lumo and VVO offer an extensive and continually developing range of services to make life easier – both before and after moving in. The new year will bring more new services for both our existing customers and all those who want the option of flexible and effortless housing.
A big round of applause for all VVO personnel and stakeholders! In spite of the recession, 2014 saw us make good progress towards our goal of being Finland's most valued and efficient landlord.