Can Foreigner Buy a Property in Japan? Best way to find a great property in Japan.

Can Foreigner Buy a Property in Japan? Best way to find a great property in Japan.

Park City Musashikosugi, Kanagawa Source: wikipedia
Park City Musashikosugi, Kanagawa Source: wikipedia

In our previous article, we pointed out that Japan's population declining. There are more and more properties to be on sale in Japan.


We have many inquires asking if foreigners can buy properties in Japan. Many countries in fact forbid foreigners buying properties or land. For Japan, the answer is "Yes". A foreigner can buy property in Japan.


We heard of some complaints that foreigners have hard time finding trust worthy agents. There are real estate agencies targeting foreigners  some of ( hopefully not all of them) which try to take advantage of the lack of local knowledge of the foreigners. We felt we need to do something about this situation. 


In this article, we explain about the housing price in Japan, useful tips and how to find and buy good properties in Japan.

Time to Buy Property in Japan?

The decline in population is not depressing news. At least not totally.


As there are more and more empty houses, the housing/land price is lowering so much in suburb and even in the centre of major cities (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Fukuoka etc..).

In 70s and 80s it was so much money to buy properties even in the super suburb. Today we see the land price in Japan is cheaper than most of the developed countries.  Value of Japanese property is not just a price but its quality. Many properties are well built. When you compare the building from the same era in developing countries and Japan, you often see the clear difference.


The only area with the price staying expensive are super good locations (e.g. within 5 min walk from train station) in the big cities.


Even in Tokyo we see many apartments empty and also not selling for a long time. If you are planning to stay in Japan for a long time, it is a great chance to buy properties in Japan.


The tip is to find a wooden house older than 20 years old in the suburb of Tokyo or Tokyo area. Some houses are selling from 1.8mil JPY (ca 14,000USD ) for 50sqm, 35 years old, only one hour from Tokyo and you can renovate it nicely. You need to be very savvy to find such a property and also need to spend some amount to refurbish the house.


As a rule of thumb, if you prepare around 30million JPY (ca 280,000USD), you can find a comfortable new properties inside/near Tokyo.


Even the high end property is cheaper these days. The high end property (not necessarily in the high end area like Roppongi or Aoyama where the properties are not as appreciated as before if far from station, but the location so close to the train stations (i.e. within 1-5 mins walk in the major area, 1-2 mins  walk in suburb area))

Golden rules to find a best property in Japan

1. in 10min from public TRANSPORT

You buy and want to lend it out. Put yourself in the shoe of the customer. You do not want to live far from the public transport.

2. 20 years old or newer

Would you want to resell your property in the future? Better not to buy an old one. The anti earthquake architect regulation changes over time. You will be careful not to buy an building which was constructed under the old regulation. This impacts the resale price.

3. Find non-public info

If certified agency, all real estate agencies use the same database regardless the size. How cool the office may look. They use the same database. What we see in this database is quite normal and not so good cases only. Important to find a agency which has non-public information.


We work with the agencies with confidential information.  If you are serious about buying real estates in Japan, you can contact us!

Now you know the golden rules.


Unless, you work with us, here is the basic information [tips for property purchase in Japan] as below:

Tips for property purchase in Japan

1) Find a good agency which is honest and has a fast response

As said, there are millions of real estate agencies in Japan which all use the same database to find a property.

The difference is the quite basic quality: honesty and fast response.  It is quite rare that one particular agency has more information than others in terms of the property info. Of course, the local agency close to the property tends to have more back ground information which is important for evaluation.


We witness there are cases of scams in Japan. Just watch out!!

2) Careful but move fast

So...all use the same data base. This means that good property shall be gone in a matter of second. The information you find online are already old (sometimes not good because they are not slow to sell) You need a careful analysis of the potential purchase but you also need to be very fast to decide.

3) You need to pay cash at once

Most of Japanese buy property on load as long as over 30 years or so. As a foreigner, you are not entitled to housing loan in Japan. You just need to prepare all cash to pay. In all cases for property purchases in Japan, foreign customers paid in cash.  


This way the seller and agency are also comfortable dealing with you. 

4) Pay attention to Japan specific topics

Japan has many natural disasters and also Fukushima nuclear problems. It is relatively safe and clean country compared to most of the countries around the world (as Europe is also not safe any more). Yet, property in Japan is not free from any problem. Japan faces many types of natural disasters. The natural disasters include earthquake, typhoons, big rain, big snow. When you buy properties, you need to pay attention to these topics and make sure enough countermeasure is taken. 

Owl tower, Ikebukuro, Tokyo Source: wikipedia
Owl tower, Ikebukuro, Tokyo (btw, Owl is a bird of Ikebukuro ward) Source: wikipedia

Property in Japan is cheap?

The Kitahama Tower & Plaza Osaka Source: Wikipedia
54 floor high apartment The Kitahama Tower & Plaza Osaka Source: Wikipedia

Is the real estate in Japan affordable?


We lived in several countries and visit many every year. We feel Japan is relatively cheap for the quality.  But there is no easy deal. You need to work with the experts whom you can trust. 


Interested? If so, we deal with Non-public Japanese real estates with many cool properties, just let us know.

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Do you know an island with over 2000 years old tree in Japan? Please check this out!


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Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source. These shops are the ones we find online at random for your reference purpose. There is no guarantee whatsoever about the authenticity of the shops and items of any sort.

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