Over eight million empty homes scatter Japan, and the problem is set to get worse due to an ageing and shrinking population
Data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications ‘Housing Stock’ report, found that in 2013 there were 8.196 million empty homes in the country.
This makes up 13.5% of Japan’s total available housing.
According to recent research from the Fujitsu Research Institute, the number of vacant properties will rise to a staggering 20 million by 2033 – making up almost a third of the available properties in the country.
In order to alleviate this growing crisis, local governments and communities have set up online databases called ‘akiya’ (vacant house) banks.
The databases list the majority of empty homes up for sale, with many in good and livable conditions often going for very small amounts or even for free.
On this particular website, many properties are listed for free and expect the buyer to only pay taxes and agent commissions.
An abundance of empty properties throughout Japan is the result of an ever ageing population.
As more people age and move away from their homes into care or to pass on, their once lived-in properties become and remain empty.
And, it is believed that there are not enough young people in the country to make use of these empty homes.
The younger generations are on average taking longer to have families of their own and find that they do not require larger spaces to live in.
Many of these properties are found in Japan’s rural towns. However, The Japan Times has reported that this growing problem is starting to appear in suburbs and larger cities.
Empty homes can cause many problems for a community. They quickly become targets for acts of vandalism and areas with a large quantity of abandoned homes are known to receive less tax income and decrease in value.
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