Japan is Giving Away Country Homes for Free

Would you like to move to Japan? Would a free house sweeten the deal for you?

One result of a population which is aging — and thus decreasing — in Japan is the increase of vacant homes in the country; and an increasing number of abandoned properties means that they are becoming more and more affordable…

Japan is Giving Away Country Homes for Free

…or even free of charge — after taxes and fees are paid on them, of course.

Akiya banks are Internet web sites — many of which are set up by local governments and communities to better manage the supply and demand for the growing inventory of empty houses in their respective rural towns, suburbs and larger cities — whose main purpose is to present these vacant houses which are either for sale at reduced costs or free of charge altogether.

“‘Japan faces significant economic and social impact effects from demographic (aging) over the next three decades,’ Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, wrote in an October note”, according to this article written by Yen Nee Lee for CNBC. “Abandoned properties in the world’s third-largest economy are among the least-discussed side effects of the country’s demographic changes.”

The reason for this phenomenon is primarily because the owners of the structures are unable to properly take care of the property anymore — or they simply do not want to pay the property tax which applies in Japan for a home that they do not use.

As one of many examples, several homes which are offered via this Internet web site are free of charge, with the purchaser required to pay only taxes and fees — such as agent commissions…

Source: inakanoseikatsu.com.

…but do not expect a pristine mansion, as the homes offered free of charge typically require major refurbishment because they are old, run down and neglected. You may have to spend a significant amount of cash on some of the structures to elevate their status to habitable.

“But some local governments — such as the Tochigi and Nagano prefectures — offer subsidies for renovation work on vacant houses”, according to the aforementioned article. “For vacant homes that are not free, prices can range from 500,000 Japanese yen ($4,428.50) to close to 20 million yen ($177,140) depending on location, age and condition of the house, according to the listings seen by CNBC.”

Although vacant homes are largely concentrated in rural towns, the phenomenon has started to creep into the suburbs and larger cities. “In Tokyo, the proportion of vacant homes stood at 11.1 percent in 2013 — among the lowest in the country, according to official statistics. But that number is expected to grow above 20 percent by 2033”, according to the aforementioned article. “Across Japan, the number of vacant homes stood at 8.196 million in 2013, representing around 13.52 percent of the country’s total housing stock, according to latest data by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.”


Despite selling houses at low prices or giving them away, the vacant housing problem will not disappear anytime soon due to the rate at which new ones are entering the market — especially if the buildings are in seriously substantial disrepair…

…but then again, this issue seems similar to castles being given away in Italy two years ago — and may still be available

Source: inakanoseikatsu.com.

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