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Number of abandoned homes hits record high in 2018

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The article is poorly written. It does not refer to reasons behind. The reasons are 1. Children have jobs in remote places and have their houses already in different places. 2. Unsettled inheritance troubles among children.  3. Costs of demolishing houses. While the land price is low, demolition costs sometimes more than the land prices. At local place where I live, it is so. 4. Tax problem. So long as a house is there even if people do not live, tax is low but for the vacant flat land where people do not live, tax will be raised as much as six times. 5. The house of the picture is very small and no room for parking cars. Change of lifestyle.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't this number include vacant condo units, danchi units etc.? Would like to know the breakdown between single family homes and manshon.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And they are still digging up rice fields and turning them into apartment blocks and the ubiquitous plastic boxes they call family houses.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

And they are still digging up rice fields and turning them into apartment blocks and the ubiquitous plastic boxes they call family houses.

Well it IS a free market, but the real problem behind those are the companies that push them. Farm owners attend seminars where they are told that the rent will be guaranteed for 30 years. The get a loan, pay the company to build and then start receiving rent. It sounds great, but the companies have a clause that allows them to back out of the agreement. Of course, the contract for the construction is said and done. So often the farmer ends up with a 5 year old building that is renting out at 20% occupancy rate (if that) and a bank loan they can't pay back. Meanwhile, the company has made its profit (construction costs are high). Rinse and repeat.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

So just over 20% of Yamanashi's homes and such are without occupants. Yamanashi is quite a beautiful place with some of the best Vineyards in the world. If that is the case then the powers that be need to make getting to and from Yamanashi faster. What about a MagLev train from there to say Tachikawa. Make the trip take 20 minutes. The distance from Kofu Station to Tachikawa, say with a couple of turns, would be around 80 to 90 Kilometers. A MagLev Train could cover that quite quickly. From there people could travel to various jobs in Tokyo itself. After that start making Yamanashi into a tourist spot by adding various attractions. That should add to creating Jobs there, help to sustain the population and decrease unoccupied houses.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I blame gov't greed for part of this problem. As mentioned above, the inheritance tax is quite high here in Japan, and if you inherit a house in Tokyo, the tax alone will almost bankrupt you. So instead of the gov't trying to nickle and dime every yen they can, make a kind of amnesty for those houses and properties that nobody really wants. Allow them to be sold and let the land recycle into the market. Then we wouldn't have rice fields being destroyed to build more houses, and the gov't will still get its money through land sales and construction costs. It will be the same thing with the sales tax increase, short term money grab, but in the end they will lose more money.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

@ Schopemhauer:

.

Yes. The article is scanty, lacking details.

Your points provide clarification.

Clearly changing demographics.

Thanks .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yamanashi Prefecture in eastern Japan had the highest proportion of abandoned homes at 21.3 percent, followed by Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan at 20.3 percent.

The prefectures with the lowest proportions of vacant homes were Saitama, north of Tokyo, and Okinawa in southern Japan.

The Japanese tax is not making easier for inheritor, if they make wrong decision they'll end up with asset that has negative in value. So that percentage show people just won't take inheritance just like that, they do some calculation before they decide to take it or not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The majority of these eye sore houses and apartment blocks are no longer habitable. The problem of the owners of many former family homes is the cost of demolition and once demolished they will be charged land tax. The majority of people want to move into new homes so buying land with a house will involve the extra cost of demolition.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The govt should introduce a buy-back program or leasing incentives that cover renovation costs.

The houses could be used for homeless shelters, halfway houses for rehab or newly released convicts, nursing homes, and day care, etc...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The govt has totally dropped the ball on this & many other issues around housing(people who collect garbage anyone!) …………

It is insane that the govt cant see how they have\are totally BOTCHING this & creating a MASSIVE set of problems along the way...…

I like BDG's idea but needs to be made PERMANENT otherwise the problems simply return again!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What about a MagLev train from there to say Tachikawa. Make the trip take 20 minutes.

The Chuo shinkansen Maglev route will pass through Yamanashi, stopping at Kofu. They originally wanted to have that section open in time for the Olympics, but I think they have scrapped that idea.

After that start making Yamanashi into a tourist spot by adding various attractions.

Yamanashi's tourism is doing just fine. I think the problems are quite simple; rural ageing & depopulation, plus a lot of second homes that the wealthy people of Kanto have abandoned since the bubble burst.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are no compulsory purchase laws.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How many decades or centuries will it take for Japan to make common sense land reform? Lol.

Japanese government seems to legislate efficiently only to help Toyota or other exporters, or deal with North Korea.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The choice of photographs is bizarre. The house shown is not abandoned. It is being lived in. It is very clearly a case where someone is holding out against purchase for road widening. You can see that from the way the sidewalk detours around the house, the fact that the road is wider on both sides of the house. The green mesh fence is also a giveaway. You see that particular fence type used to mark off property that has been taken or will be taken for road widening.

I used to drive around one such house when I lived in Kobe. You can find similar examples almost anywhere roads are being widened in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The house in the photo is a sticking up nail that has not been hammered down.

As others have pointed out, there are loads of reasons the high vacancy rate. If I may add one, over the years, the Japanese government has been too slack in giving planning permission on new land. In the UK, the most common way to build a house is to buy one, knock it down, and rebuild on the same site. There aren't hundreds of thousands of virgin sites out there with planning permission for you to build on. Ghost areas in the Japanese countryside are an unavoidable with depopulation, but it is poor that new towns have sprung up in Chiba for example while older parts of Chiba not so far away have been left to rack and ruin.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The article is poorly written. It does not refer to reasons behind. 

Yes, I would like to know the reasons behind this phenomenon as well since I've seen some I feel would make a good business location.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@BeerDeliveryGuy

Such programs that try to make old homes more appealing do exist in some places. The biggest issue is that those programs literally only cover a fraction of the renovation costs. Furthermore, homes in Japan have a much more limited life expectancy than those in America because of the earthquakes that add wear and tear on homes in Japan. Because of this, there is practially no resale value on homes within Japan. People don't want to buy a house that will cost them more to fix than the actual value of the property and demolishing the house and building something new is costly and will take a long time to see a return on that investment.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If I may add one, over the years, the Japanese government has been too slack in giving planning permission on new land. In the UK, the most common way to build a house is to buy one, knock it down, and rebuild on the same site.

People who have done the conversion from agricultural to residential use have told me that it actually extremely difficult. There is, in fact, quite a bit of highly controversial conversion going on in the UK.

[It is] poor that new towns have sprung up in Chiba for example while older parts of Chiba not so far away have been left to rack and ruin.

Chiba New Town was started in the late 1960s when the population was increasing rapidly. That is the case for most of the "new towns" in Japan.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/08/05/how-tos/the-aging-issue-of-chiba-new-town

Tama New Town, the largest in Japan, was started in 1965. Senri New Town (Osaka) was started in 1961.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Much of world now aging populations. Migration to cities and career changes . China will have big problem caused by 1 child and that being male child most often. Females empowered while many males never will marry unless they have success enough to venture outside China to find bride. This is world of Demographics and new economy. Look up "Harry Dent Economy" he addresses much on economic changes but not on social changes you will see in next 10 years

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But what of today's workers with automated intelligence and robots ?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The house in the photo has been used many times and in fact may not even be there anymore.

All of the prefectures, cities, towns have strong laws protecting the agricultural use of land making it impossible or at least extremely difficult to change the use to domestic/residential/industrial. There are also zoning laws.

If a farmer stops cultivating his land it just returns to a state of nature.

The UK have similar laws. Green Land. Brown Land.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is all about resale value. There are no returns on property in Japan. The cost of removing old houses or renovating them is more than the land is worth. Apartments are torn down after 50 years, so you can’t give away 40+ year old apartments. Don’t buy property in Japan. You just lose money. I bought a 25 year old apartment in 2006. After five years it was valued at $40,000 less than what I paid for it. Add that to the $40,000 my ex ‘had to’ spend renovating it and I lost 80 grand in less five years. Do you really wonder why so many houses and apartments are empty and dilapidated in Japan?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Do the hustle: how do you figure you lost 80 grand considering you didn't have to pay rent that time? I had considered buying an apartment in Japan previously but my company pays 2 million yen per year of my rent tax free which I would lose if I bought.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Depending on where you live you can buy a disused property, fix it up and live there cheaper than renting.

My wives former family home in the beautiful Japan Alps had not been lived in for more than 10 years. I checked it out. The roof was sound and just required painting. I spent about ¥500,000 on making it comfortable and about six months. We moved in at the end of 1994 and stayed 8 years. We still have it but don't live there anymore. The cost worked out at about ¥5,000/month. I also grew 80% of our food. We spent less than ¥50,000/month.

Now prefectures have "house banks" which are properties for sale or rent. In Tatsuno City where we now live there are some very nice properties.

This is the link for our city

http://www.city.tatsuno.lg.jp/machimiraisozo/akiyatouroku.html

There are quite a few sites for tracking down these properties.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If there’s land surrounding the houses, why not just burn these Showa Shacks down instead of paying for demolition?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Arson is one solution...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In the UK we have "compulsory purchase" which allows the government to buy places, I know that Japan does not have such laws, but may be it should be something to consider, especially IF the land or house owner can't be traced, even if the did find the owner and there is a tax issue or the is an internal squabble in the family they should be given, say 5 years to sort matter out, if not this could pave the way for a government purchase.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JJ jetplane

I am aware that such a program would not be profitable, but the facilities I mentioned are usually never profitable even when purpose built. I was thinking more along the lines of allotted funds and govt purchase and repurpose of real estate.

The govt should be eager to get back prime real estate when the prices are slumping in preparation for the next boom or before you-know-who buys it up as part of its soft power invasion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Schopenhauer, I agreed. The tax is one of the problems. My wife, parent died a few years ago and they have left the home and plot. No one lives there and grow plants on the farm plot, but they have to pay tax. So they decided to surrender to the Government.

All sisters and brother own home in the city. No children will go back to live and grow vegetable in the village where their parents growing up. Now, her village has only 50 peoples once population of over 1,000 and the 2 story junior high school has 3 or 5 students.

The Government should stop collecting tax or reducing tax on abandoned house and land when the owner was not living there in the rural area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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