Foreigners interested in buying real estate in Japan often focus on Tokyo and Osaka, for obvious reasons, but those looking for a city with growing population, a vibrant start-up economy, and affordable prices may also want to consider Fukuoka.
Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka prefecture and sits on the northern shore of Kyushu. It offers a very livable, sub-tropical climate, beautiful scenery, and a rich local culture.
It also has a growing population, which is counter to the general population trend in most of Japan’s regional cities.
Growing population and working age population
From 2015 to 2020, Fukuoka had the second highest increase in population of any municipality in Japan, second only to the Tokyo 23 Wards. In 2020, its population was 1,612,392 people, a net gain of 73,711 compared to 2015. Fukuoka’s working-age population is also growing.
In the same period, Japan’s population shrunk by about 0.7%, with much of this population drop occurring in Japan’s smaller cities and towns.
The Gateway to Asia and the “Silicon Valley” of Japan
The city of Fukuoka is also vying to become Japan’s answer to Silicon Valley.
In 2014, Fukuoka was designated by Japan’s central government a national strategic zone for start-ups, which allows the city to cut corporate taxes for new businesses and to create a special visa for foreign entrepreneurs. As a national strategic zone, Fukuoka has also been able to relax city planning rules to re-develop the city center.
In 2017, the city renovated an old school in Tenjin, a central business district, to create Fukuoka Growth Next (FGN), a one-stop shop for aspiring entrepreneurs.
As reported by the BBC: “Facilities include discounted office space, a prototyping lab, a start-up cafe where consultants provide free business, legal and accounting advice, and the Global Startup Centre to help foreign founders set up in Fukuoka or local entrepreneurs expand abroad. There’s also a bar to lubricate the networking process and a regular schedule of talks, seminars and matching events to link start-ups with customers and investors.”
The Tenjin neighborhood is also undergoing a major re-development with the aim of making it into a hub city in Asia. Fukuoka’s location, being closer to Seoul and Shanghai, than Tokyo, lends itself itself to being positioned as a major regional business and economic center.
The “Tenjin Big Bang” re-development project aims to significantly increase the amount of office space devoted to supporting Fukuoka as an Asian business and technology start-up hub.
By 2024, the city plans to increase the amount of office space in Tenjin to 757,000 square meters from the current 440,00-square meters by renovating existing buildings and relaxing floor area ratios (FAR) and to increase the number of people employed in the area by 2.4 times, from 39,900 people to 97,100.
Compared to buying in the Tokyo 23 Wards or even Osaka, Fukuoka is relatively affordable.
In 2021, the average unit price of a newly constructed condominium sold in the greater Tokyo region hit a record high of ¥62,600,000 ($550,000 USD) in 2021, up 2.9% year-on-year. This number outstripped the previous high reached in 1990 during the asset bubble era.
The prices of pre-owned condominiums in Tokyo have also been on a hot streak. In December 2021, the average sales price of a pre-owned apartment in greater Tokyo reached ¥41,160,000 ($358,000 USD) in December, a double digit year-on-year increase of 10.1%, and the 19th consecutive month of price increases.
The chart below shows how the prices of re-sale apartments in the city of Fukuoka compare to Tokyo.
Even for a relatively newer property that is less than ten years old, a buyer in Fukuoka would be looking at an average sales price that is about 52% of that in the Tokyo 23 Wards.
For those looking for entry-level investment properties at lower price points, Fukuoka offers the possibility of buying with much less start-up capital than would be required for central Tokyo.
In a follow up article, we will also take a look at estimated rental yields, which is also essential to understand for those comparing possible returns in different cities and among different property types.
Below we give examples of properties currently available for sale in the city of Fukuoka.
1K Apartment Near Hakata Station – 9.7% Est. Gross Yield
Highlights: Currently occupied with an estimated gross yield of 9.7%. Excellent location, 15-min walk from Hakata Station, a major railway station in the city of Fukuoka. It is also the largest and busiest station in Kyushu and is a gateway to other cities in Kyushu for travelers from Honshu. The Sanyo shinkansen from Osaka terminates at this station.
Price: ¥4,000,000 ($34,000 USD)
Size and Layout: 14.34 m² 1K studio apartment
Floor: 8th-floor in 8-story building
Land rights: Freehold
Year Built: 1992
1K Apartment in Tenjin Neighborhood — Est. gross yield of 9.5%
Highlights: Currently occupied with an estimated net yield of 9.5%. Excellent location, 10-min walk from Watanabe Dori Station, one stop from Tenjin Minami Station. The Nankuma line is being extended to Hakata Station, with a planned in 2023. The Watanabe Dori neighborhood is very central and is just a short walk (about 15-minutes) to Tenjin.
Price: ¥5,200,000 ($44,000 USD)
Size and Layout: 19.84 m² 1K studio apartment
Floor: 7th-floor in 10-story building
Land rights: Freehold
Year Built: 1991
2DK Apartment near Hakata Station – Very central location, high yield
Highlights: Excellent location, 8-min walk from Hakata station on the subway Kuko line. Building has auto lock and bicycle parking. Currently tenanted with estimated gross yield of 8.5%.
Price: ¥8,500,000 ($72,000 USD)
Size and Layout: 33.21 m² 1K studio apartment
Floor: 8th-floor in 10-story building
Land rights: Freehold
Year Built: 1989
1LDK Apartment in Central Fukuoka — Excellent location between Tenjin and Hakata Stations
Highlights: Amazing location near Nakanosu Kawabata station on the Fukuoka City subway Hakozaki line, 1 stop direct to Tenjin Station and two stops direct to Hakata Station. This is a very central neighborhood near Hakata Bay and the Tenjin area, Fukuoka’s western hub and is packed with a diverse range of shops, bars, restaurants, and nightlife. This property is currently tenanted with an estimated gross yield of 4.7%.
Price: ¥19,800,000 ($167,000 USD)
Size and Layout: 32.93 m² 1LDK (1-bedroom) apartment
Floor: 13th-floor in 14-story building
Land rights: Freehold
Year Built: 2017
2LDK Apartment for Sale in Fukuoka – Tower mansion property on the beautiful waterfront of Fukuoka
Highlights: This high-rise condominium is located on a man-made island on the beautiful waterfront of Fukuoka. Nearby is a spa-resort, hospital and other lifestyle amenities. It is also a short-walk from island city park and the beachfront. From I Tower, it is 12-minute drive to Fukuoka’s major downtown entertainment areas of Tenjin and Hakata, as well as Fukuoka Airport. This property has an estimated gross yield of 4.9%.
Price: ¥27,800,000 ($236,000 USD)
Size and Layout: 50.07 m² 2LDK (2-bedroom) apartment
Floor: 21st-floor in 45-story building
Land rights: Freehold
Year Built: 2016
ReMax Revo is a bilingual real estate agent based in Hakata, Fukuoka and is the listing agent for the properties highlighted above.
They are able to provide service in Japanese and English and can help you find properties suitable for your own use or for investment properties.
To contact them, please use this form!
Yes. You can buy property in Japan regardless of your nationality or country of origin. There are also no residency requirements for buying real estate in Japan. Securing financing as a resident foreigner is more complicated. For info on financing, please see Basic Requirements for Getting a Mortgage as a Foreigner in Japan
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Need to Know
Leasehold rights in Japan: Advantages and disadvantages
Bilingual Real Estate Agent in Tokyo Answers Your FAQs on Buying and Managing an Investment Property
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Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, Japan 2020 Census (in Japanese)
BBC, “Why Fukuoka is Japan’s Most Innovative City,” by Edd Gent, 8th May 2019 (English)
City of Fukuoka, “Tenjin Big Bang” overview, updated December 13, 2021 (in Japanese)
Kenbiya, Manshon Report, January to March 2021 (PDF in Japanese)