Japan Is Selling Empty Houses for Less Than US$500

Japan Is Selling Empty Houses for Less Than US$500

Moving to Japan just got a lot easier.

Do you secretly dream of starting over in a different country and owning a house in the countryside? Then you’re in luck. Thanks to financial incentives offered by Japanese authorities, there are about 8.5 million empty houses in rural Japan currently in the market for new owners. If you’re willing to move to the countryside and put in the hard work of restoring old residences, an empty house in Japan could be yours for approximately $US500 (S$679) or less. 

Why are there so many empty houses for sale in Japan?

Japan Is Selling Empty Houses for Less Than US$500

Image credit: Sanga Park via Canva Pro

Due to the steep decline of Japan’s population and the trend of younger residents leaving their hometowns to work in major cities, Japan’s countryside is filled with abandoned or empty houses known as akiya. These vacant homes are often left to deteriorate as senior residents move into elderly care facilities or pass away, while their younger relatives are unable to occupy their old houses or maintain them. 

According to Japan’s most recent Housing and Land Survey in 2018, there are about 8.49 million akiya without occupants. The report found that these empty houses were largely concentrated in the rural areas of Japan, notably the prefectures of KochiKagoshimaTokushima, and Wakayama, where the home vacancy rates exceeded 18%. 

Image credit: Evgeny Tchebotarev

To restore these properties and bring life back into Japan’s small towns, the Japanese government encourages people to buy the empty houses left behind by the country’s aging population. Local authorities have set up online databases known as “akiya banks,” which collect and list the empty houses available in a certain area. Some are currently up for grabs for as low as ¥50,000 (US$455), while others will even let you move into the house for free

Furthermore, Japanese authorities are offering financial incentives to sweeten the deal for potential buyers and homeowners. These include renovation grants and childcare subsidies for young families who are planning to live in rural Japan. 

Also read: Traditional Towns & Villages in Japan That You Absolutely Have to Visit

How to buy a vacant house in Japan

Japan Is Selling Empty Houses or Akiya for Less Than US$500

Image credit: Leung Cho Pan via Canva Pro

Living a charming life in the countryside carries a certain appeal, especially in a country as beautiful as Japan. You can learn more about empty houses in Japan from websites and blogs that curate the available listings for sale. 

Besides real estate information on akiya, these online resources also provide important details about living in Japan’s remote areas, ranging from the prices of vacant houses to tips on farming. 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany wrote articles on travel, food, and pop culture for TripZilla. As she plans her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.