Valmiera tries to increase its rental housing offer

Valmiera, just like most places in Latvia, has insufficient housing fund. Seven years ago, the first two rental apartment buildings with 150 apartments were built in Valmiera, but demand is still high, so construction of two more new rental buildings will begin this year, Latvian Radio reported February 28.

It is estimated that around 7,000 people come to work in Valmiera every day from both Valmiera municipality and surrounding areas. Many people want to live in the city, but finding an apartment to rent at the moment is quite difficult.

“When you look at what that apartment market or rental offer in Valmiera is, then either they're a little inadequate in terms of rent or they're inconsistent with the demands of young families, but the families want to move to Valmiera,” one of the occupants of the rental homes already in place, Aija Kurtiša, assessed. “This personally came as a very good solution for our family because we moved to Valmiera and started living in such a very small one-bedroom apartment; with the family growing, the demands for larger spaces grew, this was a good, quick solution to get into a good place right away. ”

Ilmars Skādulis, Member of the Board of Valmiera Host Ltd., said the interest in these apartments was very high.

“As soon as any apartment in existing houses becomes vacant, then one thing is either companies queuing up, we're also launching into the free market, then on average 4-5 bidders apply for each apartment,” Skādulis said.

Two more buildings are about to be erected next door.

“A total of 120 apartments, demand is more for three-bedroom apartments, so we have decided that the new tenements will have 50 two-bedrooms, 60 three-bedrooms, and 10 four-bedroom apartments,” Skādulis said.

In order to address housing availability, in January the municipality of Valmiera started auctioning the first apartments in Seda, which is half an hour's drive from Valmiera, although the apartments are worn out and in poor condition, they can be purchased at a low price.

Chairman of Valmiera municipality Council Jānis Baiks said there has also been interest in these apartments. On the other hand, as regards the construction of new apartments, according to Baiks, this issue has also been raised in the Committee of the Regions of the European Union.

“A resolution was adopted among MEPs to the European Parliament on the need to create a dedicated housing policy and housing fund, as everyone recognizes that regions are no longer really coping with this problem, there must be different support mechanisms and also a common policy to be implemented to enable housing development, and this is more aimed outside metropolitan areas, outside very large cities, in regions. And since such a resolution was adopted, the further question is whether the European Rules of Procedure will hear it,“ Baiks noted.

New rentals are expected to be mostly done by winter, but they too will not completely resolve the housing problem in Valmiera.

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