That was a big surprise for us when we heard the information from my friend.
It is a real property which has been kept decently. In fact it has a huge land with pond! and store house (not a store room!) in its own property. There are too many rooms in the house, and the owner hardly use some of the rooms.
Free house in Japan? What is going on?
It it too good to be true, sounds like scam? When we started to do a bit of research, we came to realize it reflects unique situation in Japan we hardly see in some of other counties in Asia.
Housing market in Japan is facing oversupply nowadays. It is estimated by the year 2065, population in Japan would be 88 million from 126 million. On top of that, youngsters are moving out to city area to seek further opportunities. Still there are many new houses are being built.
As a result, many countryside in Japan are being Ghost Town. Housing stock is superior than actual population. Many local authorities are taking this into their matter.
For each landlord or house owner, even though there is no one using it, the owner need to pay for relevant taxes. Take for example of the owner. She needed to pay for multiple taxes, over all 10 million JPY in total. It moved her to give the property out for FREE. Unless, no one would appear to take the property!
Where to find the information
Basically a system run by local authorities, sometimes private sectors. If you have certain location in Japan in particular, you may visit the website updated by local authorities.
Some other websites are run by a private sector collaborating with Japanese government. We can find property information in Japan in those website as well.
Ieichiba 掲示板 家いちば 空き家売ります掲示板
A website providing direct connection between seller and buyer. Since no agent is involved, we need to arrange paper work etc by ourselves. System fee is needed when we make an agreement.
Financial support from local authorities
Many local committee or authorities are coming up with their own scheme so that they can welcome people from outside.
You can find information such as below website:
For example in 2019, there was a campaign for migrants in a certain Hokkaido village. Upon a condition to stay more than 10 years there, they give support for 3 million JPY. The immigrants can build a brand new house!
Things to be careful
When foreigner buys or get property in Japan there are some tips we need to be careful.
We cannot buy a farm land in Japan unless we get permission from local authority committee. They give approval for those farmers, whose main income is by farming. If we are not farmers, we need to be careful it is not under farm land or not.
Property may be free but there would be tax, and relevant renovation work occur, coming along with some document works. If you get resort area having hot spring to the property, there could be an additional cost for the usage.
Some areas are quite exclusive for the people even outside their town. It would be safe to see local environment how welcoming those areas are for the people from outside. Are there people moving in from other towns or counties?
Ironically for most Japanese, life time dream is;
It seems unachievable since many have to choose to stay in those bird’s nest in downtown paying high rent.
Meanwhile those houses in countrysides are abandoned. They are being ruined by moss and termites.