Statistics: Latvia’s housing stock up in 2007

The amount of housing stock in Latvia continued to increase last year, according to the Central Statistical Bureau in Rīga, while the average amount of floor space per resident also expanded.

Housing stock by the end of 2007 had reached 60.1 million square meters (more than 646.9 million square feet), the statistical bureau said in a June 16 press release. Of that, 87 percent was owned privately, an indication of how privatization of government-owned residential buildings has continued. In 2000, 76 percent of the housing stock was in private hands.

Two thirds of the housing stock is in urban areas, the rest in rural areas, the bureau said.

The amount of average floor space per resident continued to grow, too. In 2000, the average stood at 22.6 square meters (about 243 square feet) per inhabitant. Last year, the average was 26.4 square meters (about 284 square feet), a nearly 17 percent increase.

Construction of new residential property continued actively during 2007, the statistical bureau said, with more than 1.18 million square meters (nearly 12.8 million square feet) commissioned. Of that total, 1,998 were single family homes—and 79 percent of those were two-story buildings.

Despite the upbeat numbers, concern about the Latvian real estate market remains. Property values, which had been rising steeply in recent years, have started to fall. In a survey of the housing market in 2007, Rīga-based Arco Real Estate noted that after an initial bump in the first four months of the year, housing prices began to slide. Banks, meanwhile, are cutting back on credit.

According to statistical bureau data, orders for new residential construction totaled LVL 11.02 million in the first quarter of this year, a marked contrast to the LVL 53.6 million in new orders during the first quarter of 2007.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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