At the end of World War II, Finland faced a critical housing shortage. About 14,000 dwellings had been severely damaged during the war; only a modest amount of new housing had been built from 1939 to 1944. Some 112,000 dwellings were lost to the ceded territories, and homes had to be found for the displaced persons. Government participation was inevitable in this situation. Two measures passed in the late 1940s, the Land Acquisition Act and the Arava Law, made large-scale credit available on reasonable terms. During 1949–59, a total of 334,000 dwellings were built, including 141,900 supported by the Land Acquisition Act and 89,400 supported by the Arava Law.
The migration into urban centers that continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a constant urban housing shortage even after the war losses had been replaced. During 1960–65, the number of new dwellings averaged about 37,000 annually. To stimulate housing construction, the government passed the Housing Act in 1966 providing for increased government support. As a result of this Act, the number of new dwellings supported by government loans rose rapidly. During 1966–74, a total of 466,900 dwellings were completed, of which 214,700 were supported by government loans.
From 1974 through 1985, another 558,000 new units were added to the housing stock. In 1991, 51,803 new dwellings were completed, down from 65,397 in 1990. The total number of dwellings in 2000 was 2,512,442. About 40% are detached homes; 43% are apartments/flats. Most hosueholds have between one and four people.