Buying a Home in Japan

What can you buy in Japan’s regional cities for $150,000?

This month we continue to see a year-on-year increase in inquiries for properties for sale in Tokyo’s 23 Wards, but also of note is the growing interest in cities outside the capital region.

In this article, we give a few examples of what is currently available in Japan’s main regional cities (Sapporo, Sendai, Kanazawa, Nagoya, and Fukuoka) in the $150,000 (about ¥16,700,000) and under range.

This is a price point that is below the average sales price even in regional areas and significantly below the average sales price of re-sale apartments and houses in the Tokyo 23 Wards. For more information about average sales prices in Tokyo, please scroll to the bottom of the article.

Let’s take a look at some examples what is currently on offer in Japan’s regional markets.

Four-Bedroom House For Sale in Sapporo

4-Bedroom house for sale in Sapporo, Hokkaido. List price is ¥10,980,000 ($98,600). Please click on the photo for the full listing, including many more photos.

Where: Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido. Sapporo is the capital of Japan’s northernmost prefecture, known for its fresh air, beautifully mild summers and snowy winters. Live in Hokkaido for the abundant nature and elbow room, not to mention world-class ski resorts.

Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens in Sapporo. Photo: Wikimedia

In the last few years, there has been a surge among foreign buyers (especially Australian and Chinese) purchasing resort properties in ski resort towns like Niseko, (about 100-km southwest of Sapporo), and Furano (about 120-km northeast of Sapporo).

Price: ¥10,980,000 ($98,600)

Size and Layout: 120-sqm, 4LDK (4-Bedroom)

Floors:  Two

Land Area: N/A

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1988

Structure: Wood

Notes: The average contracted sales price of a detached re-sale house sold in Sapporo in May 2017 was ¥18,400,000, according to REINS (in Japanese), representing a sharp year-on-year jump of 13.3%. The example we give above is considerably lower than this average sales price, but the age of the property should be taken into consideration.

Please see: Houses for sale in Hokkaido

3-Bedroom Apartment for Sale in Sendai

Ninth-floor 105-sqm 3BR+ apartment for sale in a 13-story building in Aoba Ward, Sendai for sale. Please click on the photo for the full listing, including many interior photos.

Where: Nishigaoka, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi refecture. Sendai is the capital of Miyagi prefecture and the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region. The city has a population of about 1 million. Coastal areas of the city suffered extensive damage in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Great strides have been made in recovery, but the city is still rebuilding.

The Sendai Aoba Matsuri (Festival) Parade held on Higashi-Ni-banchō-dōri Avenue. Image: Wikimedia

Price: ¥12,800,000 ($115,000)

Size and Layout: 105-sqm, 3SLDK (3-bedroom + bonus room)

Floor: 9th floor in 13-story building

Land Area: N/A

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1995

Parking: Available

Notes: The average contracted sales price of a detached re-sale house sold in Sendai in May 2017 was ¥21,750,000, according to REINS (in Japanese), a year-on-year increase of 0.7%. The example we give above is much lower than this average sales price, but the age of the property should be taken into consideration.

Please see: Apartments for sale in Sendai

4-Bedroom House for Sale Kanazawa

4-bedroom house for sale in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture. Please click on the photo for the full listing, including many interior photos.

Where: Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu island. Known for its well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts.

Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, considered one the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Photo: Wikimedia

Price: ¥13,500,000 ($122,000)

Size and Layout: 112-sqm 4LDK (4-bedroom)

Floors:  Two

Land Area: N/A

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1993

Structure: Wood

Please see: Apartments for sale in Kanazawa

3BR Renovated Apartment for Sale in Nagoya

4th-floor 3BR renovated apartment for sale in Atsuka Ward, Nagoya. Please click on the photo for the full listing and many more photos.

Where: Atsuka Ward, Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, on Honshu’s Pacific coast. Land and property prices in the city’s central districts have been surging in recent years due to the planned opening of the magnetic levitation train line. With the opening of the Linear Chuo Shinkansen line in 2027, travel time between Tokyo and Nagoya will be cut to 40 minutes. The second leg of the line will connect to Nagoya and Osaka and is expected to open in 2045.

Please see the Nagoya City Guide here.

Please see: Apartments for sale in Nagoya

Central Nagoya. Image: Wikimedia

Price: ¥11,980,000 ($108,000)

Size and Layout: 60-sqm 3LDK (4-bedroom)

Floor:  4th-floor of six-story building

Land Area: N/A

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1981

2BR Renovated Apartment For Sale in Fukuoka

5th-Floor 2BR apartment for sale in Fukuoka. Please click on the photo for the full listing and more photos.

Where: Fukuoka, the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture, is located on the northern shore of Kyushu. It has been one of Japan’s important harbor city for centuries because of its proximity to the Asian mainland. Flight time to Seoul is about 1.5 hours, to Taipei about 2.5 hours, and to Hong Kong about 3.5 hours.

Recently, Fukuoka has seen a surge in buyers from overseas and other parts of Japan looking for higher yields, as yields in Tokyo have declined.

A view of Fukuoka from Fukuoka Tower. Photo: Wikimedia

Price: ¥12,300,000 ($111,000)

Size and Layout: 58-sqm 2LDK (2-bedroom)

Floor:  5th-floor of eighth-story building

Land Area: N/A

Land rights: Freehold

Year Built: 1974

Please see: Apartments for sale in Fukuoka

Here we summarize the answers to FAQs about buying property in Japan.

Can a Foreigner Buy Property in Japan?

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 Getting a Home Loan in Japan as a Foreigner and Mortgage Calculator for Home Mortgage Loans in Japan.

How much does a house or apartment cost in Tokyo?

  • Tokyo 23 Wards Average Listing Price: In April 2017, the average listing price for a 70-sqm re-sale condo in the Tokyo 23 Wards was ¥53,230,000, a year-on-year increase of 1.3%, according to Tokyo Kantei (in Japanese). Based on this, the average listing price per sqm would be ¥760,428.
  • Central 6 Wards Average Listing Price: Reflecting their proximity to convenient transportation, shopping and business hubs, and other urban amenities, properties in the central six wards (Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Bunkyo), have a much higher average listing price, at ¥73,030,000, a year-on-year increase of 1.8%. Based on this, the average listing price per sqm would be ¥1,043,285.

Average contracted sales prices were lower than average listing prices:

What about taxes and fees?

Taxes will add about 6% to 7% to the purchase price. Please see this article for a detailed explanation of Japanese real estate taxes, including annual fixed-asset (property) taxes to plan for.

Brokerage Fees

If you use an agent to buy a property, you will have to a brokerage fee (commission) of 3% of the purchase price plus 60,000 yen plus consumption tax (currently 8%).

What about monthly expenses?

If you buy an apartment in Japan, you should also set aside building management fees, in addition to the repair reserve fees mentioned above.

Building management fees pay for the day-to-day running of the building, such as common area maintenance and the salary of the on-site building manager, if there is one. The building’s management association, consisting of the owners of the building, set the building management fees.