Are you sick of waiting for your BTO flat, or the day you turn 35 so you can snag that resale HDB apartment? Or maybe you’ve been scrimping and saving in hopes of upgrading to a condominium or landed property? Here’s a suggestion you never thought you’d hear: Get a holiday home in Japan. After all, Japanese authorities are giving away thousands of houses for free. For a swankier crib, fork out some money — some houses are going for as little as 500,000 yen (S$6,000). Save on that Chanel bag and buy a house with that money instead.
Read the above paragraph again. Rub your eyes. Pinch yourself. Yes, it’s true. No, it’s not a scam.
There are so many vacant houses in Japan that the authorities have resorted to giving them away for free or for a nominal fee. According to Japan Times, there are some 8 million vacant houses — enough for everyone and their mother (and their baby cousins) in Singapore to own their own home. This glut of abandoned houses (or akiya in Japanese), many of which are in suburban or rural areas, is due to aging population and young people moving to urban areas to live and work. This massive surplus has led to akiya banks. First set up in 2014, these property listings, usually online, are dedicated to help people find these empty homes. These giveaways are also open to non-Japanese, according to a CNN report. So who’s ready for a mortgage free life, pronto? Take a peek at what akiya are on the market right now.