The walking distance from the nearest train station is a major factor when searching for an apartment or house in Japan. The closer to the station, the higher the rent. So, how much does rent change as you look at places that are 5, 10 and 15 minutes away?

The following is a translation of an interview between a writer and real estate agent that appeared on the MyNavi news site on January 3, 2013:

— Where I live the difference in rent is approximately 10,000 Yen/month between a property 5 minutes from the station and one that is 10 minutes away. Are other areas the same?

Although it will depend on the area, that would be the approximate difference in rent that you will see. For properties over a 10 minute walk, the rent will be even lower. As for one-room studio apartments, there is almost a 30% difference in rent between properties that are 5 minutes and 10 minutes away.

— So, you are saying that a studio 5 minutes from the station could be 60,000 Yen/month, while one 10 minutes away could rent for 40,000 Yen/month? 20,000 Yen is quite a difference!

While studios can drop in rent quite dramatically, you will not see such a large decrease in the rent of family-oriented properties as you move away from the station.

— Is there a specific reason why the rent for studios becomes so much cheaper based on distance?

The typical tenant of a studio is a single working adult and they want to be as close to transport as possible. Studios that are further away from the station are more difficult to rent out, so are offered at much lower prices. There is also a very large supply of studio apartments.

— Of course, if you are living by yourself you would want to be near the station.

Absolutely. As for families, even if they are a little further away from the station, they may prefer a property close to a park or in a quiet residential neighborhood. Family-type apartments located very close to a train station may also be too expensive for the average family.

— If choosing between a property with great facilities that was 15 minutes from the station, and one with average facilities 5 minutes from the station, you would tend to pick the closer property. Looking the long term, living far from the station can become quite a burden.

That is why you may see properties far from the station with good facilities, yet they will always lose the price war. The rent for these properties is always going to be lower to try and attract tenants.

— For those properties, they have no choice but to offer an incentive to attract tenants, so the rent becomes lower and lower.

The difference in rent between properties 10 minutes and 15 minutes from the station can be as much as 20,000 ~ 30,000 Yen a month. It becomes a question of placing priority over your time versus your money.

Source: MyNavi News, January 3, 2012.