Japan Is Selling Abandoned Homes for $455 Right Now—Some Are Even Free

There are currently over 8 million abandoned homes across rural Japan waiting for new owners.

Courtesy of tochigi-akiya
Courtesy of tochigi-akiya

It seems as if every other week a new Italian town is practically handing out fixer-upper homes for just about nothing, but it's not the only country looking to entice new residents with the appeal of cheap real estate. In fact, the Japanese government is practically begging people to help solve its abandoned housing issue. 

With over 8 million homes vacant across rural Japan, you can now snag a house of your own for next to nothing. Here's how it works: The cities of Tochigi and Nagano are listing empty homes on "akiya banks" lists, some of which are being sold for as little as $455 US dollars. And while sure, they'll need a little TLC to bring 'em back to life, you'll likely have the extra cash to do so—considering the affordable pricing and all. Renovation subsidies are also often part of the deal.

So what's with all the vacant homes? According to Japan's Housing and Land Survey, the country logged 8.49 million empty homes in 2018 due to relatives dying and homeowners moving, Insider reports.

In fact, some cities are so desperate to fill these homes that they're even handing out the houses for free, while others are offering various subsidies and cash grants in exchange for the purchase of a home.

Courtesy of tochigi-akiya

"The program not only helps the old owners who were struggling to utilize the properties and pay taxes but also for the town by reducing the number of abandoned buildings that could collapse or otherwise pose risks in the future," a spokesman for the Okutama government office told Nikkei Asia

These programs are working, too. In Okutama in western Tokyo, for example, new residents have transformed the spaces into workshops, eateries, and more. According to Nikkei Asia, the town of Mikasa reported an 11% decrease in vacant homes while Daisen in Tottori saw a 7.9% drop.

h/t Insider

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.