Society | Mar 27

Soaring Land Prices Drive Families Away from Tokyo to Suburbs

TOKYO, Mar 27 (News On Japan) - As housing prices continue to surge in Japan's capital, a phenomenon known as "Escape from Tokyo" is seeing families with children moving out of Tokyo to neighboring prefectures such as Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba.

Over the past year, the net outflow of residents from Tokyo has exceeded 17,000, with the Cabinet Office noting that "this suggests that the child-rearing generation is moving to suburban areas of the capital region where housing prices are lower."

An age-specific analysis of population movement between Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba, based on the "Population Movement Report" published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, revealed that while there was a net inflow to Tokyo among people in their 20s, there was a net outflow for those in their 30s and 40s—considered the child-rearing generation—as well as children under 14, totaling 17,102 individuals. The breakdown shows that the highest net outflow from Tokyo was to Saitama Prefecture with 8,086 people, followed by Chiba Prefecture with 4,557, and Kanagawa Prefecture with 4,459. This trend has been particularly noticeable since around 2020, and the Cabinet Office, in its economic report published in February this year, pointed out that "rental and condominium prices for families continue to rise in Tokyo, suggesting that the child-rearing generation is moving to the more affordable suburbs of the capital region." Furthermore, it was stated that "if the child-rearing generation cannot afford to purchase homes, it could lead to a long-term decline in employment and birth rates," and recommended that "policies such as expanding the supply of public housing are necessary to secure homes for the child-rearing generation."

Unable to Find Affordable Housing in Tokyo, Families Move to the Suburbs

Among those in the child-rearing generation, there are people who, unable to find affordable housing in Tokyo, have decided to move to the suburbs. One such example is a couple in their 40s and 30s who lived in a company housing in Tokyo. They began looking for a property within the 23 wards of Tokyo that could accommodate a family of four over a year ago, before their 6-year-old daughter entered elementary school. However, they could not find a condominium within their budget of 70 million yen, as prices had risen. They also searched for rental properties in Tokyo, but family-friendly options were scarce and rents remained high, leading them to give up and ultimately decide to move to a rental apartment in Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture, taking into consideration commute times and the educational environment. They moved out of their company housing in Tokyo in late March. Even in Narashino City, new condominiums exceed 80 million yen, so the couple has decided to continue living in a rental while searching for a property that fits their budget. The wife, in her 30s, said, "We looked at over ten properties in Narashino City, but didn't feel they were significantly cheaper than in Tokyo, so we're currently in temporary housing due to time constraints. The thought of continuing the house hunt is somewhat disheartening, but we want to switch gears and start our new life positively."

Source: NHK


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