How Do You Choose The Properties For The Newsletter
When I look at a house listing, I generally ask myself three questions:
1. Is it cheap?
2. Is it excellent value?
3. Could I see myself living there, or would it make a good vacation home?
If I like the answers to those questions, it gets put on a short list to be considered for the newsletter. I try to narrow it down even further to show you only the best listings.
Is It Better To Buy A House Or Rent In Japan
Choosing whether to buy a house or to rent a house in Japan is completely up to personal preference as well as what you can afford in the area of Japan that you want to live in. There are a few distinct disadvantages and advantages to both buying a house in Japan and renting a house.
Let us go through some of the disadvantages and advantages of both options so that you can choose the best one for you and your budget.
Got $500 To Spare You Can Buy A House In Japan
Sick of the city life? Resent your fourth floor walk-up? Share a washing machine with a neighbor who keeps leaving socks behind? Japan may have a solution for you.
In the Japanese countryside, bargain homes are going for as little as $460, prices made possible in part by local governments eager to fill empty buildings as the countrys population rapidly shrinks.
To attract residents to their dwindling communities, local authorities have in recent years spent millions in renovation grants, as well as relaxing zoning restrictions and sometimes even giving away old buildings for free. And as the coronavirus pandemic has created more remote jobs and prompted many to relocate, spacious country homes could look even more attractive than tiny apartments in the city.
Weve actually had a few interested foreigners buying akiya , said Kenji Nishimaki, an emigration and settlement counselor at Nagano city hall, one of the city governments offering subsidies for people buying an akiya.
A traditional Japanese home selling for 65,000 yen in Nagano city. Photo: Courtesy of Nagano City Akiya Bank
According to government statistics, 361,091 Japanese people left the greater Tokyo area for the suburbs last year, a 2.56 percent rise compared to 2019.
Nishimaki said that Naganos relative proximity to Tokyo makes it a great place to live.
According to 2018 data from the Japan Housing and Land Survey, there were over 8 million akiya in the country, a 3.2 percent increase since 2013.
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Are You A Real Estate Company Do You Get Commissions
No. Im just a guy whos spent way too many hours researching the housing market in Japan, and I own a vacation home there myself.
I dont receive any sort of commission from the listings I recommend in the newsletter.
I have a day job, so this site is a passion project for me. The $10 per month that I charge for the newsletter helps to support the hundreds of hours I put into this project. If you enjoy the instagram, please consider subscribing it helps me spend more time on this project.
Get In Touch With The Agent And Visit The Property
So youve shortlisted a few places very exciting! The next step is to get in touch with the agent and make sure the properties youre interested in are still available. Many popular Japanese real estate sites often only update their stock once or twice a month, so it is possible that the house has already been sold. Youll need to reach out and double check if the property is still available.
Next we need to ensure that everything is as it is in the description. I strongly recommend visiting the property in person before going any further in the buying process to avoid disappointment, or even being ripped off .
Youll want to look for things like whether theres any structural damage or defects, warping or floor slant, roof leaks or termite damage. As well, you should double check the fixtures and fittings, boundary markers, plumbing, and foundation.
Here is a good article about what to look for when inspecting a house in Japan:
50,000 to 70,000 yen
Here are some questions you might consider asking the agent during this step:
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Receive Keys & Final Documents Pay Miscellaneous Taxes And Expenses
The final sum of the property sales price will be paid to the seller, usually by bank transfer or sometimes cash, and youll be issued a receipt. Usually this meeting takes place at the real estate companys office, with the buyer and seller present. At this point youll finally receive the keys to the house.
Congratulations! At this point youll now be a fully fledged owner of your very own house in Japanese! Along with the keys youll also receive all the documents that come with the property. The property documents will include warranties, instruction manuals, and any management rules for how to use the facilities and equipment of the property.
Youll now be responsible for all the extra taxes and fees, including the fixed asset tax, city planning tax , real estate acquisition tax, and management fees. Youll be sent all the necessary documents directly from the tax office that has jurisdiction over the property. Youll also need to settle any remaining fees or commissions with the real estate company.
You can read more about the different taxes and fees here.
Important! If you dont have residency and dont plan on living there permanently, then youll have to abide by the Obligation of Notification due to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Act. You have 20 days to fill in a notification form and notify the Minister of Finance .
Note, this wont apply to you if youll be using the property for business, as an office, or for relatives/employees .
How Can I Find Akiya Banks
While there isnt one central website that lists all akiya in Japan, many rural cities have made their own akiya bank websites or created subpages for abandoned homes on the market on the municipalities official sites, usually in Japanese.
For example, here is an akiya bank for Chiba, this one lists properties in Tochigi Prefecture and this covers all of Nagano Prefecture. Individual municipalities often have their own akiya banks as well, like this one for Ueda City in Nagano Prefecture or this one for the Minamiboso area in Chiba. Important note: All inquiries to the above akiya banks contacts must be written in Japanese only. No English inquiries will be answered or accepted.
There are also a few realtor websites that specialise in rural real estate and list akiya for a certain area or all prefectures, e.g. here, here and here. Again, these are not all encompassing and some vacant homes up for grabs in the countryside never make it online, but are only listed at the local city hall or with local agents. And some vacant homes are never sold because there is no owner, the owner does not want to sell or, with owners still thinking in bubble era terms, the asking price is so far above the market value that agents refuse to list the property.
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Can A Foreigner Buy Akiya
First of all, dont consider an akiya your fast track to living in Japan. Buying a property in Japan, abandoned or otherwise, does not grant you automatic residence status. And while a foreigner can buy one of these homes, there are restrictions to keep in mind.
For example, some contracts to purchase an akiya require the buyer to live in the house permanently. You must make sure this clause is not in your contract because it could go against restrictions on your current visa.
The cost of renovating and repairing the house could equate to the cost of buying a new home.
Next, many of these available homes cant be purchased at first but are instead rented out. So, for example, an akiya might be listed at just ¥35,000 per month, but tenants must live in the house faithfully. Eventually, the land and home title will be transferred to the renters, but it might not be for 20 years or more.
In Tokyo, there are sometimes specific requirements to rent akiya that favor younger families. For example, rent will be reduced by ¥5,000 per child. Other restrictions include that the renter must:
- Be under 43 years old
- Be a younger, married couple
- Have children under middle/junior high school age
What Is The Average Cost Of Renting One Room In Japan
You are probably wondering, What types of apartments can I afford? What is the average rent like in Japan?
Prices of local apartments for rent vary from city to city and also depend on the length of your stay.
At Village House, we offer low upfront costs with no security deposit, renewal, handling, or key money fees so that you can enjoy affordable prices and enjoy living in homes across Japans major cities and small towns.
Fret not about costs as our cheap apartments come equipped with the necessary amenities for comfortable living in Japan. Find out more about amenities by clicking See This Property.
If you are looking for cheap apartments in Japan for rent, you could take a look at our promotions for the most affordable homes and rooms for rent.
Please check listing details for more information on the specific apartments or reach out to us to learn more.
*Dependent on the credit check results and contract details, a deposit may be required.
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Can A Foreigner Buy Property In Japan
You may have read about cheap akiyas in Japan and now youre dreaming of buying and fixing up a beautiful old kominka in the Japanese countryside. But first you want to know for sure: Can a foreigner buy a house in Japan?
The short answer is: YES! Foreigners have exactly the same rights as Japanese citizens when it comes to purchasing property or land in Japan, whether you have a permanent resident status or not, or even based on your visa type. Theres no extra requirements for foreigners and no extra taxes either. You can even purchase Japanese real estate as a non-resident on a tourist visa or from outside the country .
Buying a house in Japan can be magnitudes less costly than buying a similar house in countries like Australia, Canada and the US. Japans aging population, increased urbanisation and preference to build new homes has made buying your dream house in Japan an affordable reality one that some foreigners are right now discovering.
In 2019, there were approximately 2.93 million expats registered as living in Japan, making up about 2.3 percent of the entire population, and rising. The number of foreign residents purchasing real estate is on the increase, with some taking advantage of the governments new housing incentive schemes that have been designed to kickstart investment and encourage people to migrate into the rural areas especially.
What Are The Conditions
First of all, the house is not really free. Rented out at a very low rate with the option to become the owner after a certain amount of time describes the free-housing schemes more accurately. For example, in Shichikashuku, the rent for one of the detached houses provided by the municipality is JPY 35,000 per month. Should you stay faithful to the town and continuously live there, the ownership of the property, home and land, will be handed over to you after 20 years. This would equal paying a JPY 8.4 million mortgage to make the home yours, which is still a very good price. For the current Okutama scheme, the rules are similar: JPY 50,000 per month and the home will be in your name after 22 years.
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Why Are Houses In Japan So Cheap
Buying a house can be highly stressful at the best of times, but the fact that in most countries, buying a house is a highly expensive exercise can make the stress mount even higher. But in Japan, this is not the case at all. So, why are houses in Japan so cheap?
Housing in Japan is cheap because of the countrys almost deregulated housing policies. This has allowed the number of housing to grow, meaning there are a lot of houses. This ensured the housing demand did not overtake the housing supply, which then kept the prices low compared to other countries.
So, the housing in Japan is relatively cheap, but is it better to buy a house there or rent one? And can a non-Japanese person buy a house or piece of land in Japan? In this article, we will go through and answer these questions and more.
Disclaimer: LoveForTraveling.com is a participant in the Get your Guide Affiliate Program. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This site also participates in other affiliate programs like booking.com and World Nomads and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.
In Japan A Countryside Home Could Be Yours For Under $500
Since COVID-19 forced Americans to reconsider where and how they live, the U.S. housing market is so hot that its leaving would-be buyers outbid and burnt out. Meanwhile, in Japan, all it takes to buy a home is roughly $500and a willingness to live in a ghost village.
The phrase refers not to any supernatural phenomena but the fact that Japans decades-long trend of negative population growth coupled with an exodus to urban areas has resulted in roughly 8.49 million akiya according to the countrys most recent Housing and Land Survey from 2018. Tsutsui Kazunobu, a professor of regional studies at Tottori University, told Insider that the number of households per rural community stood at 39 in 1960 but fell to 15 by 2015, and a May 2021 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development pegs Japans nationwide rural vacancy rate at about 16%.
Those statistics explain why Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga entered office in September 2020 with a mandate to focus on bridging the urban-rural divide. Subsequently, local governments are pulling out all the stops to incentivize the kind of rural homeownership and repopulation that can, in turn, fuel economic revitalization. Those offers include renovation subsidies for those who remodel and move into a spruced-up akiya, along with steep property tax discounts for akiya buyers.
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Who Runs This Site
Hi, Im Michael, founder of CheapHousesJapan.com.
Since studying in Japan for a year in my university days, my dream has always been to buy a vacation house there.
A few years ago, after many hundreds of hours of research, and multiple trips to Japan to look at houses, I bought my beautiful vacation house for the grand sum of $31,650. I love visiting my house in Japan, and have spent months at a time there, even getting stuck there for 6 months during the COVID crisis in 2020 .
You can see pictures of the house I bought on click the story highlight titled My House.
My goal with this website and newsletter is to help YOU realize your dream of owning a house in Japan for cheap!
How To Get A Free House In Japan
Recently, articles have been going viral from well-known news sources about free houses being given away in Japan. Most such houses are classified as Akiya , and according to the well-known news stories, they can be had for a song if one is intrepid enough to live out in the Japanese inaka. It just seems too good to be truehow can a house be free in Japan, with a population density nine times higher than the US, where the average house costs $226,800?
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Advantages To Buying A House
There are some good advantages to buying a house in Japan that make owning a house in Japan seem like the best way to go if you want to live there. Let us go through these great advantages.
Japan has relatively low interest rates coupled with relatively high property yields, and this means that the amount you would pay on mortgage repayments is typically quite less than what you would pay in rent for the same apartment or house.
So, for the same amount of money that you would spend to rent a house, you have the option to purchase a better or even larger property, or you also have the option to buy a property similar in size to the one that is for rent, but you will have lower monthly payments to worry about.
If you buy a house, then you will have the freedom to redecorate it and add some value to your property without needing a landlords permission first, which can be difficult to get.
You may get some benefits for depreciation or other tax benefits that may apply to you and your property. Another great advantage to owning a house in Japan is that if you decide to go back to your home country or decide to move to another area in Japan, then you have the option to rent out your property for another stream of income.