Reviving Japan’s Countryside:
How Foreign Investors are Transforming Vacant Houses
Are you an overseas investor or foreign national intrigued by the charm and allure of traditional Japanese homes?
If so, there is an exciting opportunity waiting for you.
As the appreciation for traditional Japanese architecture grows,
a promising trend is emerging that not only provides a unique investment opportunity
but also contributes to solving a significant societal issue in Japan – vacant houses.
Foreign buyers are increasingly attracted to these vacant, traditionally styled homes,
often located in the heart of Japan’s beautiful countryside.
Fueled by the rich cultural heritage encapsulated in these properties and a relatively lower cost
due to the weaker yen, this trend provides an opportunity for foreign investors to own a slice of authentic Japanese culture.
Akiya and Turning It into a Hotel?
Uncover the Legal Considerations
for Change of Use
If you’re mulling over the idea of buying an Akiya (unused house) in Japan
and converting it into a hotel, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself
with the legal considerations involved in modifying the property’s purpose.
In this blog post, we’ll highlight the primary aspects you need to
keep in mind before diving into this thrilling endeavor.
Stay up-to-date and optimize your investment by following our business
blog for more news and valuable insights.
Truth to be told.
1 in 7 homes across the country is empty.
Around 5 million of Japan’s vacant homes are intended for future sale or rental.
The phenomenon is a function of a declining population and the continued pace of housing construction.
Despite being the world’s third-largest economy, Japan’s population has been shrinking since 2010.
The population is also getting older.
A new survey shows the problem is far greater than expected.
The government recently announced the new survey result about akiya (unused house)
According to the Housing and Land Statistics Survey in October 2018 announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the ratio of akiya (unused house) to the total number of dwellings in the country was a record high of 13.6%
,meaning 1 in 7 homes across the country is empty.
（Hakuba-dake in Nagano)
Do you want to get a taste of traditional Japanese country life where you can reach a gorgeous ski resort in 10 mins ?
There are more than eight million vacant properties(it is called akiya in Japanese) in Japan and the number of akiya is increasing. Recently we have received a number of inquiries from all over the world from people who want to buy akiya. In fact, searching akiya is not as easy as you might think because majority of akiya is not widely listed. You can find only a friction percentage of akiya online.
Today we pick up a few sample akiya properties in good spots in Japan.
1 Kyoto prefecture (one and half hours from Kyoto city center)
2 Chiba prefecture (close to the beautiful ocean)
3 Nagano prefecture (10 mins to a ski resort)
Interested in high-performance Akiya (空き家, unused house or abandoned house) investment in Japan ?
Here are what you should know. If you are considering buying a akiya house, you need to know the basic knowledge of akiya investment.
There are lots of things you should know about before ever considering purchasing akiya property.
It is in your best interest to educate yourself about akiya to avoid getting into a situation that you regret.
Buying akiya can be quite useful and comfortable, but only if they are properly searched and if you share the same goals with your agent.Some investors find out akiya investment where they have purchased is not what they expected. In many cases, you’ll be disappointed to find out that the renovation cost of akiya is very expensive. There are a few options in akiya investment.But before I get into details, I want to warn you that I can’t teach you how to get rich overnight by akiya investment or find you a dream
akiya house for free near the ocean in Tokyo area. Unfortunately no house is free in Japan.
Terrifying hidden crisis or treasures ?
In Japan, recycling is so much part of our culture.
And yet, it is also the norm for Japanese to demolish their houses with almost less thought than most people would give to disposing beloved ceramic bowls.
People believe homes are usually built to last 50 odd years. Japanese building culture is often described as ‘scrap and build’.
The reasons for this phenomenon range from the ageing to need for constantly updating building technology as it revolves.
With shrinking population, the result is a housing problem that is the opposite of what most countries face. Japan has too many houses that no one wants.
According to the government statistics, the number of vacant houses (空き家、akiya) in 2013 reached 8.2 million.
(But the 8.2 million includes houses/apartment units for rent that are only vacant temporarily as owners try to find tenants or buyers. So genuine empty homes that have been abandoned altogether number about 3 million)
Moreover, many who inherit a house are unable to sell them because of a shortage of interested buyers. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas.
According to one statistics, the top ten ranking of akiya in prefectures as of 2013 was as follows.
(The number indicates the percentage of akiya in dwellings of each prefecture)
In these prefectures, 1 out 5 properties are empty.
5. Ehime 17.5%
7. Kagawa 17.2%
8. Kagoshima 17.0%
10. Shizuoka 16.3%
(Tokorozawa station, Seibu line)
* Foreigners can buy a property in Japan without having special qualification.
Do you want to join the small handful of people who are doing the house flipping here ?
Maybe we have got a better solution to abandoned houses problem in Japan.
Apparently home flipping investment is a lucrative and fulfilling way to make thousands of dollars within a short period of time in US. But it can also be a difficult and frustrating endeavor when things go wrong.
And things will often go wrong. I have read about the stories that investors talk about the various obstacles in their way. Flipping homes requires hard work, persistence, and a great deal of patience,
because you’ll inevitably encounter problems in the process.
What about the flipping houses Japan ?
Since there are so many abandoned houses here in Japan, can we do something similar ?
The answer is yes and no.
Let me start with the background by quoting an article in The Japan Times.
The Japan Times on December 26, 2017 says “Over 8 million properties across Japan are unoccupied, according to a 2013 government report. Nearly a fourth have been deserted indefinitely, neither for sale nor rent.
In Tokyo — where 70 percent of the people live in apartments — more than 1 in 10 homes are empty, a ratio higher than in cities like London, New York and Paris.
And that figure is expected to soar in the coming decades as deaths outpace births in a super-aging society where more than 1 in 4 people are 65 or older.
Nomura Research Institute, prominent research firm, projects the number of abandoned dwellings to grow to 21.7 million by 2033, or roughly one-third of all homes in Japan.
Meanwhile the population, which peaked nearly a decade ago, is forecast to fall 30 percent by 2065, creating an ever-increasing pool of uninhabited houses.”
(Flipped house in Chiba city, east of Tokyo. Before and After)
* Foreigners can buy a property in Japan without having special qualification.
Who can put a price on akiya (abandoned houses,空き家) in Japan ? You can.
There are more than 8 million distressed or abandoned houses in Japan.If you want to flip these akiya (abandoned house) into a rental property, there are quite a few opportunities out there. Akiya in Japan is a big social issue as akiya can generate serious security issues like fire, weeds, pests and burglars. Investing in akiya in a sense solves social these issues.You can find the possibilities of getting a great deal very quickly at relatively small risk exposure. But you have to find a right property in a right location.
Here is how it works
In real estate business, you probably make your money when you buy a property not when you sell it. If you don’t buy the property at the right price and/or terms, then there won’t be any good profit when you sell it.The same phrase can be applied to your home.Even if your initial plan was to live in a property (your home that is) for a long time, life is full of unexpected ventures and you may have to sell it in the future.The real estate is contained in the relatively low liquidity dimensions compared with other financial assets such as stocks, bonds and the transaction costs are high.Thus you want to be very careful when you buy a property.This is true for investors to flip a property.
Usually house flipping in the US is referred as a short-term strategy i.e. buying and renovating a house and sell it at higher value in the short term. A flipper usually needs to get out in less than six months.However, in Japan, it is not a very common style.Today I am illustrating a Japanese style house flipping; flipping akiya (abandoned house, 空き家）into a rental property.You don’t have to stick to akiya for flipping but they are naturally very affordable to come by.One of our business partners is actively investing in akiya (abandoned house).Here’s a simple strategy we usually recommend for flipping akiya into a rental property.
We usually locate a property in suburban areas of Tokyo where you can find a decent one for flipping.
You should be able to find an appropriate property in Kansai (western Japan) areas but we don’t cover those areas simply because it is too far to visit the sites.Read more