Are 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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