By Jeff Wynkoop
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (the “MLIT”) recently announced it is planning to create a searchable database of vacant houses and lots of land that will cover all of Japan. The goal is to have the new database available for the public sometime in the 2017 fiscal year.
This will be the first publicly-accessible national database of Japanese real estate.
Growing Number of Vacant Houses
With the Law for Special Measures to Promote Dealing with Vacant Houses, etc. which came into effect in 2015, the MLIT encouraged local municipalities to take measures against the growing number of vacant or abandoned houses, and to create local databases of vacant houses and vacant land to promote marketability.
The MLIT recently estimated that 68% of all municipalities have already created such a database. The MLIT intends to standardize the various existing databases and combine them into one national database, allowing users to specialize their search through various search criteria.
Stimulating the Secondary Market
In addition to the new central database for vacant homes, the government is also carrying out various policy measures to stimulate the market for used residences.
For instance, the government is changing the disclosure rules in the Explanation of Important Matters, so that buyers are given information regarding whether a third party inspection of the residence was carried out prior to purchase. The reason for this change is to stimulate buyers asking about inspections, so that in the future more companies will offer inspection services.
Similarly, the MLIT believes that by preparing a national database of vacant residences and land, the increased liquidity and visibility will lead to more renovations of existing structures, and accordingly more companies entering the renovation market.
Land Will Also be Included
It is also notable that the new database will cover not only vacant buildings but also land. Since those wishing to have their own house built typically start the process by looking for and locating suitable land, a searchable national land database could save significant time and expense for such future homeowners.
Source: Nikkei Shinbun, June 6th Morning Edition
You may also be interested in: Japanese government to implement a U.S.-Style Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Yokosuka City First to Tear Down a Vacant House Under New Law
Top photo: Houses in Ikue, Asahi Ward, Osaka