MLIT White Paper on home ownership

On July 2, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released their 2012 White Paper. The theme of the report explored the living situations and demographics of Japan’s younger generation.

Home Ownership

Home ownership rates in Japan shrunk between 1983 and 1998, but began to pick up in 2008. The average rate across all age groups is around 60%.

For those under the age of 40, however, home ownership rates have been declining.

In 1983, 53.3% of those aged in their 30s owned their own home. By 2008, the rate had dropped to 39.0%. For those under the age of 30, rates have dropped from 17.9% in 1983 to just 7.5% in 2008. In Tokyo, the rate is even lower at 5.5%.

Apartment prices vs. income

In 1990, the average apartment price was 9.2 times the average annual income of someone under the age of 30. For those in their 30s, the ratio was 7.8 times.

Following the collapse of the bubble economy, house prices and incomes fell. By 1998, the price-to-income ratio for someone under 30 was 7.2 times, and 5.5 times for someone in their 30s.

Since then, property prices have risen while income levels have declined. The average price-to-income ratio in 2011 for someone under 30 was 8.7 times, and 6.8 times for someone in their 30s.

Mortgage repayments and rent as a percentage of disposable income

Between 1989 and 2009, the percentage of disposable income spent on mortgage repayments grew from 10.7% to 16.9%. For those in their 30s, the percentage grew from 13.2% to 19.8%.

Over the same period, the percentage of disposable income spent on rent for single males under the age of 40 increased from 12.4% to 19.9%, and for single females it increased from 19.0% to 24.7%.

Housing Prices 

Interest Rates

Home loan interest rates reached 8.5% during the bubble in 1990, but by 1998 they had fallen to 2.5% and have remained around this level since then.

Home Sizes

Nationwide, the average size of a residence for a single person under the age of 40 was 38.5 sqm. The average size of a two-person household under the age of 40 was 78.2 sqm.

Source: MLIT White Paper 2012 (Japanese)