Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun”, is giving away free homes or selling them at large discounts as part of a government scheme to tackle the country’s unique housing crisis.
According to The Japan Times, Japan almost has 8 million abandoned homes, also known as akiya banks, located in the regional areas or in the outskirts of major cities.
And the situation is expected to worsen as the nation’s population is expected to decline from 127 million to about 88 million by 2065, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security, meaning even fewer people will need houses.
The unoccupied properties prices as per one particular akiya database don’t go any higher than a maximum of 30 million yen (about $360,000 Australian dollars), while many properties are listed under “gratis transfer” for the sum of literally zero yen. Pay a few taxes and some agent commission fees, and the place is already yours.
In 2014, it was predicted that nearly 900 towns and villages across Japan would no longer exist by 2040.
What’s driving the government to give away homes? In part, it has to do with Japan’s aging population. According to the World Bank, the country’s population decreased by -0.2% in 2017 alone.
Giving away homes remains tough in a country where people prefer new builds.