Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
national

Kyoto eyes empty homes tax to stem exodus of young people

34 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
Login to comment

I'm sure it looks good on paper but.....

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I have reread the article several times, and I’m still confused, is the point of the new tax to put more properties on the market?. And hope that young people will buy a 30yo house? Or is the point to raise tax revenues by taxing people who have the means to have a spare house? If young people are leaving it’s probable that housing might not be the only problem. Perhaps the layers of tax might be part of it. Availability of decent jobs. Family support infrastructure. Lifestyle issues. Adding another tax just seems like work for works sake rather than addressing the problem they have attached to the reason for the tax, as an excuse to just create a new income stream.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

For example, a detached house around 30 years old in Kyoto's Nishikyo Ward with an assessed value of around 3 million yen and around 150 square meters of floor space would fall into the lowest bracket, attracting a tax bill of roughly 40,000 yen per year.

A detached house in Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto assessed at a value of ¥3million ($30,000)? Surely a zero is missing?

24 ( +26 / -2 )

Introduce a tax to boost the economy. Yeah...

Where do these geniuses get their ideas?

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Why not give a tax break, to first time buyers? Freeing up funds to upgrade that 30yo house. Double glazing, insulation, more power points, bathroom upgrade, kitchen upgrade. Costs a lot of money to do all that. Or huddling under a blanket in debt, on a cold floor.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

around 150 square meters of floor space would fall into the lowest bracket, attracting a tax bill of roughly 40,000 yen per year.

That's not much for a 150 meters house in the city centre. The owner of such a property may not mind the extra tax.

I think it's a good call, 15.000 unoccupied residences is a lot. But Kyoto seems to be forgetting that the real issue is/was tourism, which will eventually pack the city again. New and old buildings are being used for opening new hotels, not for residential space, and this new rule may lead to transform these houses in more lodging. Definitively not for residential space for young couples and their modest salaries.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Kyoto's going bankrupt:

"This financial year, which ends on March 31 in Japan, it is estimated that the city will have haemorrhaged around 50 billion yen (US$433 million) – another huge net loss to add to its 860 billion yen (US$7.5 billion) mountain of accumulated debt.

Few argue that the absence of foreign tourists is the most immediate cause of Kyoto’s financial woes, but other factors are also at play – costly tax exemptions, wasteful government spending and loss-making rail infrastructure not least among them, according to critics."

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3165103/will-kyoto-go-bankrupt-japans-ancient-capital-swims-debt

The obvious answer would be to tax the temples and shrines that attract the visitors in the first place but that's not going to happen.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

It would seem mismanagement of tax funds is the cause for the appearance of another tax, rather then it’s stated aim, they just need more money to fund and continue their lavish lifestyles.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

What kind of Protocol is this Kyoto?!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

oh I see as new tax is in place to try an recover the lost tourism dollars.....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The mayor who complained about too many foreign tourists in Kyoto about three years ago got his wish. Watch what you wish for. Now his city is so far in the red.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Kyoto is just a fussy, uptight, pretentious theme park of a city anyway. It lost its raison d'être centuries ago, and is now basically dependent on foreign tourists for both money and meaning. Except those foreign tourists have been shut out for 2 years, so now they're really up a less than ideal creek.

So sure, a new tax, that'll fix her.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Why are empty-homes taxes so trendy among local governments these days?

It hasn't helped people get housing in Vancouver,

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/taxing-rich-peoples-empty-homes-isn-t-helping-the-housing-crisis-1.1640831

But the thing with these kinds of taxes is that they are so slow to produce an effect that they will surely lag behind changes in housing market supply and demand the housing markets. And no one has data on the chilling effects that these taxes produce. Investing in Kyoto just got marginally less attractive across the board but how do you tie that to the specific tax...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wouldn't protest a lot if it would make possible wealth redistribution for someone in need... I'm not sure yet.

What about taxation on religitous entities? Most of them enjoy exemptions and state support. Unfortunately or ironically the Kyoto city can't act on it despite many temples and shrines within its territory. It has somthing to do with freedom of religion stipulated in the constitution. But I opt for constitutional reforms.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I would love a free house by the beach. I will contribute to the community.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It is surprising how many just didn't understand what is quite simple.

As far as I can see there is a shortage of housing and reasonably priced homes in Kyoto leading to younger people moving out of the city.

At the same time there are a lot of homes without occupants ( for many reasons but market speculation is often one) or being used as "vacation" homes (euphemism these days for Airbnb).

The tax applies only to the 2 above categories in order to hopefully force those holding on to the places to sell or at least rent to younger people that wish to live in the city.

This sort of "vacant" house tax is becoming more and more common around the world as certain groups buy up land in popular locations and hold on until prices go sky high this is happening in my home country.

Many wards in Tokyo are also looking at similar regulations for multiple reasons, 1-) vacant homes bring in very little tax revenue ( city income tax being the main revenue source).

2-) many are fire hazards as they rot or are not maintained, become places where youth go to smoke, cause trouble, etc....

Just this winter 3 of these abandoned/vacant homes burnt down within a 3 chome area of my place in Tokyo one unfortunately also burning down the occupied and fairly new house nextdoor to it (yes arson is suspected).

I hope this clears thing up a bit

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Most readers here should trust @Antiquesavings 11:08am on most of these property issues and other observations: - The man has wealth of knowledge from practical experiences in all aspects of making a life and a living for his family, friends, neighbors & clients in Japan. Seems nothing was ever handed to him.

@Antiquesaving 11:08am:

- “It is surprising how many just didn't understand what is quite simple.

As far as I can see there is a shortage of housing and reasonably priced homes in Kyoto leading to younger people moving out of the city.

At the same time there are a lot of homes without occupants ( for many reasons but market speculation is often one) or being used as "vacation" homes (euphemism these days for Airbnb).

The tax applies only to the 2 above categories in order to hopefully force those holding on to the places to sell or at least rent to younger people that wish to live in the city.

This sort of "vacant" house tax is becoming more and more common around the world as certain groups buy up land in popular locations and hold on until prices go sky high this is happening in my home country.

Many wards in Tokyo are also looking at similar regulations for multiple reasons, 1-) vacant homes bring in very little tax revenue ( city income tax being the main revenue source).

2-) many are fire hazards as they rot or are not maintained, become places where youth go to smoke, cause trouble, etc....

Just this winter 3 of these abandoned/vacant homes burnt down within a 3 chome area of my place in Tokyo one unfortunately also burning down the occupied and fairly new house nextdoor to it (yes arson is suspected).

I hope this clears thing up a bit.” -

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Just like many regulations in Japan this one doesn’t make much sense!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Don’t be discouraged by any naysayers to realize Your dreams in life @Rodney 10:46pm. While “there are no beach houses or beach Kyoto City”, …

… Kyoto Prefecture has them. There are two of Asia’s ‘Blue Flag’ sunset beaches, Kyoto’s Kotokiki Beach and nearby Fukui’s Prefecture’s Wakasa Wada Beach, well worth the drive from the city.

We help maintain both with cleanup 2x’s a year so, Your contribution to the community is always welcome, even if it’s just for a day’s visit to the beach.

And Yes, the opportunities are extremely rare but, an Aussie friend from Gifu was just able to negotiate the takeover of such a beach home in Fukui this last year.

If saltwater is not a priority, nearby Lake Biwa has year round windsurfing, sailing, fishing, etc. Many ‘weekend homes’ around the lake. Keep Searching!

*- @Rodney 10:41am: “I would love a free house by the beach. I will contribute to the community.*

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Carrots work better than sticks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Expect absolutely nothing to change. If you own two homes in Japan you will be able to easily cover any extra taxes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Kamo river might double as a beach in the summer. (with a bit of imagination)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is expected to generate around 860 million yen in revenue in its first year.

Yes, that’s nearer to the truth. It’s only about the money, not at all for youth, avoiding exodus or reviving the city etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

i don't expect homes in the good parts of Kyoto to be cheap given Kyocera, Nintendo, and many other video game developers are headquartered there... that is the price you pay if you want to be the silicon valley of Japan...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sven AsaiToday  04:53 pm JST

It is expected to generate around 860 million yen in revenue in its first year.

Yes, that’s nearer to the truth. It’s only about the money, not at all for youth, avoiding exodus or reviving the city etc.

Do you realize how little that is in connection with a city like Kyoto's yearly budget?

If we take let's say and average of ¥80,000 tax per vacant house. (Example given ¥40,000 if for a very old place) that is about the 15,000 houses in the article.

Now put a minimum of on working tax payer in each one of those vacant 15,000 homes,

The average salary in Kyoto being ¥5 million a year but let's just say the income is ¥3 million each the municipal income tax is 10% that is ¥300,000 per person that remains within the city limits,

So 15,000 new or more likely residents that remains in Kyoto would generate far more that ¥860 million and more like ¥3 trillion and up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agreed @kurisupisu 4:15pm but the ‘surf’s up’ only once or twice a year in Kyoto during the rainy and/or typhoon season. Can’t imagine what a ‘beachfront’ house would sell for at that location.

@kurisupisu 4:15pm: “The Kamo river might double as a beach in the summer. (with a bit of imagination).

(Side note: Young lovers have social-distanced there long before the pandemic.)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm not sure about their reasons for introducing this tax but I hope they do it in the rest of the country as well, there is extremely many empty houses and apartments in Japan and they never lower the price. Just like with anything in Japan they don't adjust to the times, so they stick with their prices even if there is not enough people to fill them, this might force them to adjust.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

there are no beach houses or beach in Kyoto City and there are no free ones.

drive north my son.

Kyoto is just a fussy, uptight, pretentious theme park of a city anyway

that is why I left there. But I regularly go swimming or hiking in the rest of Kyoto prefecture.

in Kyoto, from Gosho to Gojo you will find the Heian period clan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oh! Well then @Rodney 8:54pm You seem more knowledgeable than some. Good for you! Kyoto Prefectures beaches are great and even have a few hidden rotenburo most of the city dwellers and complainers never venture to. See you on the trails my freind.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I remember asking some young Japanese ladies about the declining birthrate in Japan, and they told me the big reason why they didn't want to have a bunch of children was housing. Who wants to have a bunch of kids in a small space? Anyway, the government really needs to think of ways to make it more attractive for younger people to have more children in a society suffering from a declining birthrate. Also, provide tax breaks in the areas of education and heath care. In the meantime, young people can and will vote with their feet and otherwise in terms of where to live or what's best for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites