If you are looking to buy a home in Japan in the very near future, you are about to get very lucky. Throughout the country there are as many as 8 million vacant or abandoned homes and the Japanese government is setting up a program to reduce the number of houses left empty. Houses that are left empty have become a problem for homeowners to manage or they don’t want to pay the taxes anymore. In other instances, vacant houses become targets of vandalism, leaving them in further states of despair. These houses have become a serious headache for home owners and an eyesore for the government as they are costly to maintain and to demolish. To solve this, home owners and local governments are offering these houses for very low prices and in many cases even completely for free.
With the rapidly aging population, many houses have become vacant, especially in rural areas. With many young people moving to bigger cities, many of these “akiya”, Japanese for vacant home, in deserted areas have become unattractive properties and are literally worthless. Houses left vacant due to natural disasters in remote areas are equally difficult to get rid of and are not interesting to brokers. One particular reason for the rise of vacant homes, are houses that are left empty due to suicides, violent deaths or murder. Many Japanese people are superstitious, and moving in such houses or even rebuilding on the same land, is considered bad luck, making these properties even harder to sell.
Japan’s population is predicted to shrink even further, resulting in even more houses becoming abandoned in the future. Previously only found in rural areas, vacant homes have also been appearing in and close to larger cities, including Tokyo. To counter this growing problem, not only are many of these 8 million homes put on the market for free, homeowners are even willing to pay money to get rid of them. In some cases, local governments even put up sponsor programs offering money to renovate these homes for potential future homeowners.
Buying a house in Japan is expensive, and although some of these akiya might seem unattractive, getting one for almost nothing might not seem like such a bad deal. Add in some (sponsored) renovation, and you might find yourself a new dream house. Recently there also has been a trend with young people moving away from the crowded big cities in search of a more quieter life. If you are looking for a house in the countryside for next to nothing, now is the time to start looking to get yours!
Future homeowners that are interested in their own akiya, check out this website.
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More next time!
Your Japan Team is a community of Japan lovers with one mission: make Japan yours. Our team is located in Tokyo, but we’ll be traveling across the whole country to capture the most useful and entertaining content for you.