Japan, in particular, has caught the attention of American buyers, as a significant portion of its housing inventory remains unoccupied and appeals to them.
The Japanese government are auctioning some of them off for as little as $500!
You won't see deals like that here...
From Business Insider:
Japan has a glut of older, abandoned homes in rural areas, as Insider has previously reported. With the country's population in decline, there simply aren't enough people willing to purchase these houses.
The country has at least 8.5 million such "akiya," the Japanese word for unoccupied home, according to government data from 2018. Some experts believe there are as many as 11 million empty houses. When owners of these traditional homes die, those who inherit the properties often don't want them or are unable to maintain them. In Japan, land remains valuable, while houses lose value over time and are often torn down and rebuilt.
Government officials are concerned that growing numbers of akiyas are hurting their efforts to revitalize rural parts of the country. So they're subsidizing renovations and selling homes often for around $25,000, and sometimes for as little as $500.
Americans are getting in on the deal. They're increasingly buying up these houses and restoring them, the New York Times reported.
Matthew Ketchum, a Pittsburgh native who lives in Tokyo, is taking advantage of the akiya market in a different way. In 2020, he co-founded a real estate consultancy, called Akiya & Inaka, that markets and sells akiya and other traditional homes, the Times reported. Ketchum said he's seen a strong growth in interest from American buyers.
"At first, we were getting most of our inquiries from Japan residents, Australians and Singaporeans," Ketchum told the Times. "That has changed now, with the vast majority of our international clients being based in the U.S."
It's disheartening that the search for affordable housing in America has reached such a discouraging state that we are now compelled to explore international options for real estate investments.
Perhaps the United States could consider taking inspiration from countries like Japan and implement subsidized renovation projects to help boost our housing market.