Houses in rural Japan sell for $ 500
TOKYO – ‘
Local authorities are offering people the option of buying a house in Japan for as little as $ 500.
In some cases, they even give the houses away for free. The only problem? You have to be prepared to live in a “ghost house,” Architectural Digest reported.
Don’t worry, the houses aren’t haunted, they are just abandoned. They are called “akiya”, which is a deserted or unoccupied house in Japan.
Websites in Japan list homes in rural parts of the country for as little as $ 500.
Foreigners are not excluded from purchasing “akiya”, but renovation costs along with various building codes preventing them from being demolished could dampen the appeal of those who are not Japanese citizens, according to the Architectural Digest.
While it may be difficult for foreigners to follow through on a home purchase in Japan, it is not impossible. According to various local brokerage firms, there are no restrictions for foreigners buying property in Japan.
“You don’t need permanent residence to buy property here. You can buy an akiya while you are traveling to Japan for a vacation on the tourist visa,” writes Yamamoto Property Advisory.
Acclimatizing to the rural areas where most akiya are based can also be difficult for foreigners, although Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has made area revitalization to attract young residents and revitalize abandoned towns an important part of the city. his platform when he took office. in September.
In an October speech to the Japanese parliament, Suga said, “Through tourism and agricultural reforms, we will create a flow of people to rural areas, increase local incomes, revitalize rural areas and boost the Japanese economy. “.
Local governments even go so far as to offer tax incentives to encourage people to settle in the regions.
A similar trend is occurring in Italy where small towns have made headlines by offering old houses and buildings for just € 1 with the aim of restoring them and repopulating the area.
RELATED: Italian town selling houses – some fully furnished – for $ 12,000 with a negotiable sale price
In Japan, cheap housing comes as the country faces a demographic crisis.
Japan’s population began to decline in 2010, from a peak of 128 million, the Associated Press reported. Without a drastic increase in the birth rate or a loosening of Japanese firm resistance to immigration, it is expected to drop to around 108 million by 2050 and 87 million by 2060.
By then, four in ten Japanese will be over 65.
The government aims to keep the population from falling below 100 million, but efforts to convince Japanese women to have more babies have yielded meager results. Young Japanese people continue to drift from the countryside to big cities like Tokyo, where the birth rate is just 1.13 children, thanks to long working hours, high costs and deadly commutes.
According to the 2018 Country Housing and Land Survey, Japan’s negative population growth has led to nearly 9 million “akiya” collecting dust.
Another housing report released in May 2021 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found that the vacancy rate in rural housing was 16%.
This story was reported in Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.