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How expensive is a house in Japan?


Japan is a country that is known for its unique culture, advanced technology, and fascinating architecture. Its housing market is no exception to this, with a range of options and prices. In this article, we will explore just how expensive it is to buy a house in Japan, taking into account various factors that contribute to the overall cost.


One of the most significant factors that determine the cost of a house in Japan is its location. Generally, houses in Tokyo and other major cities are more expensive than those in rural areas. For example, a house in Tokyo can cost up to six times more than a similar house in a rural area. The closer the property is to public transportation, schools, and shopping districts, the higher the price.

Japanese Snack Box


The size of the house is another factor that influences its cost. In Japan, houses are measured in tsubo, which is equivalent to 3.3 square meters. A larger house will naturally cost more than a smaller one. Additionally, homes with multiple rooms and bathrooms also tend to be more expensive.

Type of House

There are several types of houses in Japan, including traditional Japanese-style homes and modern Western-style homes. Traditional Japanese-style homes tend to be more expensive due to their unique design and materials used for construction. Modern Western-style homes are often cheaper but still come with high-quality materials.

Age of the House

The age of the house is another factor that can affect its price. Older homes may be cheaper than new ones but may require renovations or repairs, which can add to the overall cost. Newer homes are generally more expensive but come with modern amenities and require minimal maintenance.

Building Materials

The materials used to construct the house also play a significant role in its overall cost. Houses made from high-quality and expensive materials like wood, stone, or concrete will be more expensive than those made from cheaper materials like steel or aluminum.

Real Estate Market

The real estate market in Japan can fluctuate, affecting the price of houses. A seller’s market, where there are more buyers than available homes, can drive up prices. In contrast, a buyer’s market, where there are more homes available than buyers, can lead to lower prices.

Property Taxes

Property taxes in Japan are based on the value of the property. The higher the value of the house, the higher the property tax will be. This tax is usually paid annually and can add significantly to the overall cost of owning a home.

Agent Fees

Real estate agents charge fees for their services, such as helping buyers find homes or assisting sellers with marketing their properties. These fees can vary but typically range from 3% to 5% of the purchase price of the property.

Maintenance Costs

Maintaining a home in Japan can be expensive, especially if it is an older property. Regular upkeep and repairs may include painting, roofing, plumbing, electrical work, and landscaping. These costs should be factored into the overall cost of owning a home.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates in Japan vary depending on several factors, including the borrower’s credit score and the loan amount. Higher mortgage rates can significantly increase the overall cost of owning a home.


In conclusion, buying a house in Japan can be expensive due to several factors such as location, size, type of house, age of the house, building materials, real estate market conditions, property taxes and agent fees among others. However, with careful research and planning, it is possible to find a suitable and affordable home in Japan. It is essential to take into account all the costs involved in owning a home, including maintenance expenses, mortgage rates, and taxes. With the right resources and understanding of the Japanese housing market, anyone can find their dream home in Japan.

Is owning a house in Japan expensive?

According to the OECD, Japan has some of the most affordable homes globally. Despite this, the average resident spends 22% of their overall income on housing.

Is living in Japan cheaper than the US?

The cost per square foot to purchase a home in the city center of the US is about $335, while in Japan it is around $760, marking a roughly 57% increase. Nonetheless, housing prices in Japan are typically lower than in the US, with this trend especially pronounced since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

Can foreigners buy houses in Japan?

Foreigners, also known as gaijin in Japanese, are allowed to purchase property in Japan without any restrictions. The rules regarding real estate ownership are the same for both Japanese citizens and foreigners, and Japanese law does not impose any limitations on this matter.

Is it expensive to live in Japan?

Japan is known for having a high cost of living, with Tokyo consistently ranking among the top ten most expensive cities in the world. The majority of living expenses in Japan come from rent, followed by owning a car and transportation costs. This information was reported on June 4th, 2022.

Can a US citizen buy a house in Japan?

Unlike other countries, Japan does not have any restrictions on foreigners owning real estate properties based on their citizenship status, visa type, or permanent residency. This means that foreigners are allowed to own both land and buildings in Japan as real estate properties.

What is a good salary in Japan?

In Japan, the average monthly salary for workers varies between 130,000 JPY (1,128 USD) and 2,300,000 JPY (19,963 USD). It is important to note that the upper range represents the highest average, not the overall maximum salary earned by Japanese employees. This information was last updated on February 10, 2022.

Additional Costs

Aside from the factors mentioned above, there are also additional costs that should be considered when buying a house in Japan. These include the cost of utilities such as electricity, gas, and water, which can vary depending on the location and size of the property. Homeowners’ association fees may also apply, especially in condominiums or other shared properties. These fees cover the maintenance of common areas such as hallways, elevators, and parking lots.

Foreign Ownership Regulations

Foreigners looking to buy a house in Japan should also be aware of the regulations surrounding foreign ownership. While there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate in Japan, there are certain procedures that must be followed. Foreigners may need to obtain a visa or register with the local government before purchasing property. It is also important to have a reliable interpreter or agent who can help navigate the paperwork and legal procedures.


Despite the high costs associated with buying a house in Japan, there are still affordable options available. For example, smaller homes in rural areas or older homes that require renovation may be more affordable than newer properties in urban areas. It is also possible to find good deals during a buyer’s market when prices are lower due to a surplus of available homes.

Alternative Housing Options

For those who cannot afford to buy a traditional house in Japan, there are alternative housing options available. These include renting an apartment or house, living in a share house with roommates or co-living spaces, or even purchasing a tiny home or mobile home. These options can be more affordable and offer flexibility in terms of location and lifestyle.


Buying a house in Japan can be expensive, but it is possible to find affordable options with careful research and planning. Factors such as location, size, type of house, age of the house, building materials, real estate market conditions, property taxes, agent fees, and maintenance costs should all be taken into account. Additionally, foreign ownership regulations and alternative housing options should also be considered. With the right resources and understanding of the Japanese housing market, anyone can find a home in Japan that suits their needs and budget.

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