Are you a would-be first-time buyer, struggling to scrape together the pennies to put down a deposit on a house? Sick of properties being snapped up from under your nose, paying extortionate rent and speaking the English language? Do you pine for a free house, skiing and sushi?
If the answer to some of the above questions is yes, than you may be interested in moving to Japan.Now, you may be expecting there to be some kind of huge catch attached to this offer, but there really isn't. Approximately 8 million abandoned houses are estimated to be strewn around the outskirts of cities across the country, according to a 2013 government report.
The unoccupied buildings are being listed on online databases known as 'akiya banks' - 'akiya' translates as 'abandoned houses'. On these databases there are thousands of properties in decent condition listed for tiny fees, or even no fees at all, according to Insider.
As such, you could become a homeowner even with zero yen to your name, provided you could cover a few taxes and agent fees.
The government are even offering subsidies to encourage people to invest in renovating the houses.It all boils down to a case of supply and demand, or more specifically, shit-loads of supply and not very much demand.
One of the primary reasons for the country's abundance of abandoned houses is attributed to their ageing population.Basically, people are moving to retirement homes or dying at too rapid a rate. Their houses are left empty and there aren't enough people to fill them. What's more, the problem is only expected to worsen, as deaths continue to outpace births, with more than one in four people aged 65 or older... Though it's quite the opposite of a 'problem' if you are interested in emigrating to Japan and getting a free or very cheap house.
Another contributory factor is a culture of superstition that is prevalent in the country. Properties associated with 'lonely' deaths, suicide, or murder, are widely considered to be unlucky to inherit. There is even a website called Oshimaland which lists such properties, helping people to steer clear of them.
So if you'd rather live in a house where someone died for free, than in a flat with a damp stench for loads, you know where to head.
Featured Image Credit: Creative Commons/Cy21