According to the Statistics Bureau and the Tokyo Shimbun, the number of towns, cities and wards within the greater Tokyo area with vacancy rates below 10% has halved in the 10 years since 2003. In 2013, there were 56 districts with vacancy rates below 10% and 65 districts with vacancy rates over 15%.
Growing vacancy rates are caused by a variety of factors, including decline population in regional areas, an increase in the supply of housing, as well as an increase in the number of abandoned or uninhabitable homes that are left to rot instead of being demolished.
Highest vacancy rates
|TOKYO METROPOLITAN AREA|
| Musashino City||14.1%|
|GREATER TOKYO AREA|
| Nasu Town, Tochigi||50.5%|
| Katsuura City, Chiba||36.8%|
| Yugawara Town, Kanagawa||33.4%|
| Isumi City, Chiba||28.6%|
| Kamogawa City, Chiba||26.3%|
Beware of relying on this data
Investors should not rely on this data as it is far from accurate for the rental market.
These vacancy rates do not always correspond with rental supply and demand. Many of the vacant homes are not listed for rent or even sale. In some cases they are simply family homes that are no longer used by family members who have since moved to city areas, or may be completely abandoned to the point that they are uninhabitable. The data also includes holiday homes or pied-à-terre properties that are not occupied year-round, which also skews the data.
Chiyoda Ward in central Tokyo has a reported vacancy rate of 13.3%. However, many of the high-rise apartment towers in this district have much lower vacancy rates.
- Hirakawacho Mori Tower Residence: 2.5%
- Kioicho Garden Tower: 2.1%
- Kojimachi Park House: 0%
- Park Court Chiyoda Fujimi The Tower: 1.4%
- Proud Tower Chiyoda Fujimi: 0.5%
- Prudential Tower Residence: 1.6%
- Waterras Tower Residence: 0.9%
Nasu Town in Tochigi Prefecture had the highest vacancy rate in the region. However, this is largely a resort area with many holiday homes that are not lived in all year round, resulting in the vacancy rates being distorted. In fact, there are just 9 rental listings in Nasu Town.
Source: The Tokyo Shimbun, January 3, 2017.