Japan Offers Up Free Abandoned Houses
"There are some 8 million abandoned homes–or akiya–in Japanese suburbia," Jesus Diaz writes. In some cases, the government is selling these properties for very low sums, or even giving them away and subsidizing their renovation.
Japan is well-known for its aging population, and the resulting depopulation of some areas has increased the akiya count. At the same time, Diaz writes, other factors add to the likelihood that certain Japanese homes will be vacated. One is shoddily constructed older housing stock. Some homes "are valueless because of aging prefab construction, quickly developed to meet the post-World War II population boom and subsequent housing crisis." Cultural factors also have a role to play, especially when certain properties "may be associated with lonely deaths, murder, and suicides committed in the homes."
These akiya deals are available to non-Japanese citizens as well, as long as one secures a permanent resident visa: not an easy feat in Japan, but one that be become more common as the country opens its doors to more immigrants with in-demand skills.