A functional home – more than the sum of its square metres

YIT CORPORATION News, October 17, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.  

YIT Smartti
YIT Smartti

Convenient housing is an issue that goes beyond mere square metres. It is also a question of our individual needs and preferences. Living design philosophy finds out what makes a home functional and everyday life easier.

As the old joke goes, every Finn’s dream home is a mansion by a lake in the middle of Helsinki. But when we wake up and smell the coffee, most of us would be happy with a home in a good location that is big enough for our needs and makes our everyday life easier.

YIT conducted the Tribe survey for the first time in 2013 to assess the housing motivations of Finns. The survey was carried out again in 2017. In those four years, more and more, people have come to value the ease of living.

“According to the survey, the rising trends in housing include hassle-free living and the ease of getting around. The trends that are on the decline include the willingness to spend money on housing and the amount of space people need to have in their homes. Urbanisation has also made city centres and blocks of flats viable living options in Finland. The developments are also affected by the decreasing size of households and the ageing population,” says Marko Oinas, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Development, YIT Corporation.

YIT’s response to the changing needs is a design philosophy – which we call living design. According to it, homes become comfort zones once everything unnecessary has been stripped away, the facilities have become more multifunctional and there are smart services available to the resident.

“Many people tend to think about housing questions from the aspect of their own socio-economic situation and personal requirements. Whereas living design means stepping into the customer’s shoes – and focusing on our activities at home. Paring down to the essentials is good design. People no longer want to waste money on underused square metres,” Oinas states.

“A good example of this revolution is the kitchen. If you cook a lot and often, you need good facilities for it. But nowadays, for many of us, the kitchen is more of a bar-type extension of the living room than an actual space where you make food. Open-plan kitchens bring an added sense of space even to smaller flats, especially since it is not so common to have a sauna inside your flat anymore.”

No point paying for unused space

Living design is already actively used in YIT’s Smartti homes. Their floor plans have been designed from the point of view that the resident should not have to pay for unused square metres but should instead have a functional living space.

Joonas Mutkala is a brand new Smartti resident. The 26-year-old single professional moved to his own 50-square-metre two-room flat located in Vantaa’s Hakunila at the beginning of February.

I had been looking for a flat to buy in the east Vantaa area for about a year. Then I noticed that YIT is building new flats in the area. I figured that even though new flats are a bit more expensive than old ones, at least you don’t have to worry about plumbing or other repairs for quite a while,” explains Mutkala.

Labyrinthine flats with tiny boxy rooms here and there do not appeal to Mutkala.

My home was made to be open – the bathroom is in the middle and the rest of the flat is built around it. The number of square metres is just perfect; there’s still room for growth, even for the needs of two people. There is no sauna inside the flat but I don’t really need one every day, anyways. For me, sauna is a social event, not part of your everyday life.”

Inadvertently, Mutkala neatly summarises one of the core ideas behind living design: why pay for space that you would only use rarely?

Growing interest in home services

The Tribe survey also revealed that interest in the use of home services has also substantially increased. Particularly in-demand services for people of all ages are cleaning, renovation and repair services. According to Pekka Helin, Senior Vice President, YIT, Living Services development programme, YIT is providing more and more services that increase the comfort of living, for example, via the digital YIT Plus customer channel.

“Early in the year, when we were mapping the customer path, we found out that, for instance, home renovation can be a real pain for some people. In our customers’ experience, it can be hard to find reliable trades people. Recently, we have contacted some of the housing companies we built a decade ago to offer a home update service in collaboration with our trusted local partners,” says Helin.

Another new venture in the service front is renting. YIT wants to provide homes for sale as well as rent. YIT is also experimenting with different halfway models. In the purchase option model, the customer can first move in as a tenant and then take up the option to buy the residence for a pre-agreed price within the first five years.

There are many forms of ownership and living. And behind each choice are individual ideas. The whole package works when the customer is free to choose the form of living and ownership that suits them best as well as suitable services to go with it.”

For further information, please contact:
Marko Oinas, Vice President, Strategy & Development, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)40 506 7430, marko.oinas@yit.fi  

Pekka Helin, Senior Vice President, Living Services development programme, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)40 588 8135, pekka.helin@yit.fi

Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +35840 561 6568, hanna.malmivaara@yit.fi

YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers our 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, more attractive and more sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our pro forma revenue for 2017 was over EUR 3.8 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com