Can't afford a home in Canada? These homes in Japan will cost you less than $70K (PHOTOS)

Apr 20 2023, 5:50 pm

Japan has over eight million abandoned houses due to depopulation and a deregulated market. Many of these homes are sold for low prices or even given away at no cost.

Daily Hive spoke to Michael, creator of the Instagram page Cheap Houses Japan, about how Canadians can cash in on Japan’s affordable housing.

Michael is originally from Canada and was inspired to set up his page after achieving his dream of owning a holiday home in Japan a few years ago.

He told Daily Hive that buying a house in Japan can be a painstaking process. “For starters, most real estate agents in Japan aren’t comfortable working and corresponding in English, so the language barrier can be a big challenge,” Michael noted.

“Another factor is the commission structure for real estate sales,” he said.

In Japan, the market for newly built properties is more popular and profitable for real estate agents. “As a consequence, it can be difficult to find a real estate agent willing to spend the extra time and energy to help you find your cheap fixer-upper dream home,” Michael said.

Michael’s learning experience inspired him to create his website and Instagram. “I wanted to share what I learned to help other people with a similar love of Japan pursue their dream of home ownership,” he told Daily Hive.

However, Michael cautions against investing in Japan’s cheapest or “free” housing unless you’re up for a challenge.

Cheap or “free” vacant homes — known as “akiya” in Japan — are a part of the country’s housing market culture. Properties are listed for no or meager cost but often require extensive renovation and can come with strict terms and conditions for their maintenance.

But with the average house price in Canada reaching a staggering $686,371 in March, it is no wonder followers of Cheap Houses Japan are daydreaming of a land of more affordable property.

One of these homes could be yours if you’re tempted to take on a few renovation challenges.

Here are some property listings Michael recommends for under $70,000.

One-storey cabin in Tomi, Nagano — $46,695

This charming single-level cabin was built in the early 1980s and boasts two Japanese-style rooms, a bright living room with a skylight, and sliding glass doors that lead to a wooden deck. Encircled by greenery, the decking is ideal for indulging in the natural serenity of the surrounding forest.

Tomi is known for its wine grape production and sunny weather. The region organizes numerous wine tours and festivals annually.

In close proximity to the cabin, you can explore the Myojin Museum Art Village, temples, castle ruins, and thermal springs.

Two-storey home in Bizen, Okayama — $66,898

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking ocean and mountain vistas at this vibrant red, two-storey residence in Bizen, Okayama.

According to Michael, this home was built in the late 1990s. It boasts a Western-style loft room, a cozy Japanese-style room, and a bright LDK — a common term for “living room, dining room, and kitchen” in the Japanese real estate market. The floors are wooden and sliding glass doors lead to a spacious balcony.

The property spans over 200 square metres of land, complete with a garden enclosed by a white picket fence.

One thing to look out for when buying property in Japan is the neighbourhood association fees, Michael warns. The fee for this property amounts to 64,000 Yen ($640). Unfortunately, there is no parking available.

Two-storey fixer-upper in Imabari, Ehime — $10,700

For only $10,700, you could own this two-storey renovation project in Imabari, Ehime.

Imabari is renowned for its cycling routes and scenic views of the Seto Inland Sea and nearby islands.

This property was previously a barbershop. It features three Japanese-style rooms, three storage spaces, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

Although the price tag is tempting, Michael cautions that the location is secluded and that the property requires substantial investment.

Two-storey home in Shima, Mie — $56,195

This two-storey home is located in the serene seaside city of Shima in Mie. Shima is known for its stunning vistas of Matoya Bay, pearl cultivation, and the Shima Spain Village, a theme park inspired by Spanish towns.

This 1960s home is comprised of nine rooms, a snug kitchen, and ample storage space.

The property comes with a generous plot of land, almost 650 square metres, providing plenty of space for you to cultivate your very own vegetable garden.

But since the nearest train station is approximately 14 km away, you’ll definitely need to own a car.

Two-storey home in Takikawa, Hokkaido — $30,776

This mint green home is located amidst the rolling hills and vibrant flower fields of Takikawa, Hokkaido

Inside you will find some fascinating design choices, such as black bathroom walls, vivid pink carpets, patterned wallpapers, and chandeliers.

The property comes with almost 600 square metres of land, and the nearest train station is only a 13-minute walk away.

Three-storey home in Uonuma, Niigata — $56,185

Are you looking for some extra space? Then look no further than this three-storey eight DK (dining room, kitchen) house in Uonuma, Niigata. It is located only an hour and a half drive outside Niigata, which is known for its beautiful scenery, rice fields, and sake breweries.

There is an extensive garage/storage area beneath the house and a ski resort within walking distance.

It comes with more than 1,000 square metres of land and is situated in a tranquil residential neighbourhood near the Aburuma River.

Two-storey villa in Ito, Shizuoka — $68,225

If you enjoy the great outdoors, this coastal villa could be for you. Located in Ito, Shizuoka, this villa is surrounded by hot springs, mountains, and the Jogasaki Coast.

This two-storey property has bright, spacious rooms, including a Japanese-style room that overlooks the garden from its balcony. The living room has high ceilings and there is a spiral staircase leading to the second floor.

Two-storey hilltop home in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka — $64,211

This two-storey house on a hill in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, combines classic design with contemporary style.

The property, originally built in the 1980s, has undergone various renovations, including flooring, bathroom, and exterior.

It is not too remote either. The nearest bus stop is only a three-minute walk away and the nearest train station can be reached within eight minutes by car.

“I think this is a good price for a house in this condition and location, but as always, do your research!” Michael says.

Did any of these homes pique your fancy? Let us know in the comments.

Harry LinleyHarry Linley

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