Japan is hoping to tackle its vacant home problem by listing its rural properties for sale – at rock bottom prices.
There are an estimated eight million unoccupied houses in the country – known as akiya – and the figure has only grown in recent years. It’s a particular problem for Japan’s rural prefectures, which are seeing the biggest rise in empty properties.
A new government-led programme is aiming to get new owners inside these abandoned homes, by offering them at hugely reduced prices and with renovation subsidies for their revival and adaptive reuse. In Okutama, which is located west of Tokyo, the price tag drops to zero for its dilapidated homes.
Interested buyers can browse ‘akiya banks’ (like this one) which list available abandoned houses for sale. And for anyone headquartered in Tokyo, a separate programme is offering a cash grant to workers to encourage remote working in the countryside.