Understanding the lifespan of a Japanese home or apartment

Japan HouseAre second-hand homes really that bad?

There is a common opinion in Japan that brand new homes are a safer and less risky purchase than pre-owned ones. But, all old homes were new at one stage. Whether they are new or old, all buildings will deteriorate over the years in some form or another.

The second-hand housing market can be referred to as a ‘lemon market’. As described by economic George Akerlof in his 1970 paper ‘The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism‘, there can be good used cars and bad used cars. Similarly, the second-hand housing market may contain well-maintained and cared for homes, but can also contain just as many neglected and defective homes. On the outside, they may all appear the same, but the ‘rotten’ homes out there destroy buyers’ faith in the market and drag prices down.

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Apartment discounts – what can you reasonably expect?

One of the most important aspects when buying an apartment in Japan is negotiating on the price. Am I getting the property at the right price? What is a reasonable discount to ask for? Do Japanese even negotiate on prices? These are all questions that may cross the minds of foreign buyers.

This is also an important point to consider when it comes time to selling your property. While you may have negotiated down the price when you purchased your home, you should also assume that you may have to accept a discount if you decide to sell your property in the future.

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Buying secondhand properties in Japan’s deflationary environment

On March 22, the 2012 Koji-Chika assessed land values were announced. While the average land value had fallen for the fourth year in a row following the Lehman Shock, the rate of the fall had reduced slightly.

The MLIT reported that the 2011 Tohoku disaster caused the real estate market to stall temporarily, but indicated that there are signs we are in the early stages of a market recovery.

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