Rural Japanese homes are selling for $500 or less -- Jun 01
Japan is riddled with millions of vacant homes, called akiya, that local governments hope will sell for next to nothing.

At last count, Japan’s Housing and Land survey found 8.49 million uninhabited dwellings in 2018 — a 3.2% increase in akiya since the previous survey interval in 2013.

All told, more than 13% of the country’s 62 million homes are unoccupied, especially in rural prefectures such as Wakayama, Tokushima, Kagoshima and Kochi. In these regions, the average rate of vacant homes is up to 18%.

Now, a new program led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga means to stimulate Japan’s rural economy by encouraging tourism, business and a wave of new residents.

Online akiya “banks” have been set up by cities such as Tochigi and Nagano, where potential buyers can shop for abandoned homes listed for as little as 50,000 yen ($500). In Okutama, the price drops to $0.