Japan is facing a grave property problem, there are more houses than people. Akiya, also known as 空き家, means ‘vacant home’ in Japanese. The steep declining population in rural areas has resulted in a massive inventory of vacant properties, especially in Kagoshima, Kochi, and Wakayama where 10% or more of the homes are empty. In an effort to repopulate the area, the Japanese Akiya banks are offering you the opportunity to get one of these vacant homes – for free! Interested in learning more? Check out the full story below:
According to a Gaijinpot post, “the estimate of Akiya [abandoned homes] in Japan has risen to exceed 10 million. By 2033, it’s estimated that 30 percent of all homes will be vacant or abandoned.” In addition, Gaijin estimates that approximately 900 small towns will no longer exist by 2040. Let’s take a deeper dive into why abandoned houses are on the rise in Japan.
- The high aging population and low newborn birth rates
- Lack of employment
- Declining population in the suburbs
- High property taxes and low income
Though the majority of Akiya is in rural areas, even big cities like Tokyo has its fair share of abandoned properties. That is, 1 in 10 properties lies empty here and the ratio is higher than London or New York.
Considerations for Purchase
- Stipulations. Although these homes can be purchased at no cost, you may need to live in the house for 15 years to be considered.
- Property condition. Most of these homes are left forgotten. So, no renovation, cleaning, or furnishing is done until someone actually buys it.
- Registration and fees. Property registration, agent commission, license tax, and other taxes may be applicable.
- Qualifications. Foreigners can technically qualify for a home in Akiya, but the qualifications may be more stringent. For instance; if a foreigner wants to buy a home in the rural farm area, the local agriculture authority may want the person to pursue full-time farming.
Check out some of the abandoned Akiyan homes below!
As a result of the American population decreasing since the baby boomer generation, it will be interesting to see if America will end up in a similar future situation. Thanks for reading!