Finns fret that wealthy Russians turning too many homes into summer cabins

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Countries like Portugal and Spain may be luring wealthy foreign buyers with special ‘golden visa’ residency permits that allow them to travel throughout Europe, but some Finns would like to curb wealthy Russians’ appetite for vacation homes in border areas.

When Russians turn homes into summer cabins, they don’t pay municipal taxes, raising the burden for permanent residents, critics say. More than half of Finland’s parliament has signed a bill that would prohibit anyone living outside of the European Economic Area from buying a home unless they’ve lived in the country for five years.

One member of parliament who’s collected signatures for the bill says a third of all real estate sales in her hometown were to Russians, although Russians did only about 430 deals in the entire country in 2012, the Helsinki Times reports. The legislation is also an attempt to address the fact that since 2011, Finns and other foreigners have been prohibited from buying property on the Russian frontier.

Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, and fought both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in World War II. After the war, Finland maintained a neutral stance, and joined the European Union in 1995. Source: helsinkitimes.fi.

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