Want A Free House? Japan Is Giving Houses Away For Free

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

The West is getting expensive each day. Are you looking for a place outside where houses are cheap, the climate is moderate, and the food is great? Well, you can try to get to Asia and settle in Japan. The reason: Japan is giving away free houses.

While it may sound strange and almost like paradise, Japan is facing a serious problem with their housing. The nation has a lot of aged people and once they are passing away or moving to a retirement house, their property is left abandoned. They have no one to fill up this void and this has resulted in the rise of several abandoned houses in the country which are occupying space and are not being used in any productive manner.

You may ask, why are the other Japanese people not coming in to take over? That is because of cultural factors. In Japan, it is generally thought that when a property has had some kind of dramatic history like a suicide, murder or a ‘lonely death’ – then, that property is deemed as cursed. No one would want to bring any kind of bad luck to their lives and hence, the houses are left as they are. Out of desperation, the government has stepped in and is willing to provide subsidies for certain places to anyone who is willing to take over the property and renovate the houses. However, in other cases, the houses are not completely free as you will have to rent it for some years until the property becomes yours in future, as per the property blog in called Rethink Tokyo.

But as of now, the condition in Japan is really terrible and that is making the government take up a lot of desperate measures. Online databases are being created where these specific abandoned houses are being put up on sale – generally free of cost or almost free. These databases are called ‘akiya banks’. ‘Akiya’ is the Japanese word for an ‘empty house’. There are more than thousands of such houses listed on this database and they are all in great condition. You may not even have to spend too much on renovation, as per the Insider. Just take up the house and you can settle right in without any issues. One of this akiya database has a total that does not go above 30 million yen (about £208,000), and there are several houses listed in these databases that can be got by ‘gratis transfer’. That is almost for nothing. You will have to pay some commission to the housing agents and a few taxes to the government and once all these formalities are over, you are a property owner.

So, you may be thinking that the government of Japan is getting a little too desperate. Who would want to give almost new houses for free? Well, the condition of Japan demands so. A government report in 2013 saw that more than 8 million houses had been left abandoned and they were situated in the outskirts and the regional areas of Japan, as per the reports from The Japan Times. The Fujitsu Research Institute has predicted that if such a thing continues then the numbers might go up as high as 20 million by the year 2033. That number is almost one third of the total houses present in Japan.

Abandoned houses are just a costly affair for the government. They take up space and result in an increase in opportunity costs. As a result, the government has tried to place such incentives so as to attract more people. However, nothing seems to be working. The demand is extremely low and the supply is very high. It seems that despite the price drop, the government needs to go for a massive change if they are willing to attract some people toward this transaction.

IMAGE CREDIT:  Sakarin Sawasdinaka

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