Buying Property in Japan: The Definitive Guide

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Japan is one of the most popular investment destinations for international corporations and individual property buyers. Being one of a few developed countries in APAC, it’s not strange.

Foreigners find Japan as safe and ownership regulations are both transparent and favorable, which is not often the case in many other APAC countries, especially in Southeast Asia.

Not to forget, Japan is very livable and many decide to either settle here or to buy lifestyle property for holiday or rental purposes.

Before you buy real estate in Japan, it’s important that you understand the property market outlook, how high property taxes are, if you can get a property loan as a foreigner, and more.

In this article, you’ll learn the following:

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Buying Land in Japan: Foreign Investor’s Guide

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Japan’s land prices haven’t increased as much as in developing Asian countries in the past years. The country suffered from an economic downturn in the early 1990s and the real estate market never really recovered since.

With that said, the market has started to gain more interest and Tokyo currently has one of the most active markets, according to PwC. It’s predicted to see great rental growths as it gains interest locally and from overseas.

In this article, we focus on land investments and where I explain the basics if you plan to buy land as a foreign corporation or individual.

Topics covered:

  • Can foreigners buy land in Japan?
  • Land Prices in Japan
  • The Process When Buying Land
  • Taxes when Buying Land
  • Finding Land for Sales in Japan
  • Commercial Real Estate Agents in Japan

Can foreigners buy land in Japan?

Japan is one of a few Asian countries that allow foreigners to own land on both a freehold and leasehold basis. This comes as a surprise to many overseas investors, especially as habitable land is limited. Continue reading Buying Land in Japan: Foreign Investor’s Guide

Investing in Japan REITs: The Ultimate Guide

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Japan introduced its REIT market in 2001 which is now the second-biggest in the world, worth around USD 120 billion.

In 2019, Japan’s REIT market reached a 12-year high but was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) REIT Index saw a decline of almost 50% as investors pulled out.

With that said, many trusts have performed well in the past years and until the beginning of 2020. As the Japan REIT market has gained increasingly more interest in previous years, I decided to write this article.

Topics covered:

  • Can foreigners buy REITs in Japan?
  • How can I invest in REITs in Japan?
  • Trading Japanese REITs Through an International Broker
  • What are the benefits of buying Japan REITs?
  • List of REITs in Japan

Can foreigners buy REITs in Japan?

Foreigners have no particular issues to invest in REITs or stocks and participate in the Japanese stock market. Continue reading Investing in Japan REITs: The Ultimate Guide

Buying Hotels in Japan: The Ultimate Guide

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Japan is one of the most visited countries in Asia and its tourism industry has seen a great upswing in the past years.

The major cities will see a large supply of new units in the coming years, an interesting trend is that the demand for nights at 4-5 star hotels increase much.

Investing in Japan real estate is straight-forward compared to other regional countries, including Thailand, China, and Vietnam, just to mention a few.

Yet, the country is also well-known for being bureaucratic which can understandably make some investors frustrated.

In this article, we review the following topics:

  • Can foreigners buy hotels in Japan?
  • Licenses Needed to Operate a Hotel
  • Hotel Business Permits (The Hotel Business Act)
  • Buying Japanese Hotels through a Company
  • Japan’s Hotel Market
  • Best Cities for Hotel Investments in Japan
  • Commercial Property Agents in Japan

Can foreigners buy hotels in Japan?

Japan has transparent and preferable property ownership rules, foreigners generally don’t have any issues to acquire hotels and resorts. Continue reading Buying Hotels in Japan: The Ultimate Guide

Investing in Japan Commercial Property: Foreign Buyer’s Guide

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Japan continues to be a popular investment destination in Asia. With changes in local policies and eased visa regulations, the commercial property market will benefit from an increased amount of tourists and investors.

Interestingly, the Japanese government has revised its projections of the number of inbounds in the coming decade, which increased from 20 million to 40 million in 2020, and from 30 million to 60 million in 2030.

People from Hong Kong and Mainland China go to Japan in vast numbers, at the same time as we’ll see future growth from emerging markets like India and Indonesia.

Yet, buying commercial property in Japan requires a bit of planning and caution.

In this article, we review the following:

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Top Real Estate Agencies in Tokyo: The Definitive Guide

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Tokyo is the financial center and the city that attracts by far the most foreigners in Japan. Even if property is not the cheapest in the region, nor the country, many decide to buy here.

You’ll find a number a real estate agents who have both Japanese and foreign nationals, ready to cater local and overseas buyers. However, the information about the different agencies are rarely summarized in a detailed way.

Therefore, I decided to write this article where I list some of the top real estate agencies in Tokyo. Let’s have a look.

Introductory remark

The real estate agencies are listed in a random order.

1. Colliers International

Colliers International is one of the largest real estate agents with around 70 offices and thousands of employees working worldwide. In 2017, the company officially announced that it will open its first office in Japan, the Managing Director will be Katsuji Tokita who has a long experience of working in the real estate industry.

You’ll see that the company is reputable and has won a number of awards in the Asian region, for example:

a. Euromoney 2016 – Best Overall Advisor & Consultant Award in Asia

b. Euromoney 2015 – Best Agency/Letting Advisor and Consultant Award in Asia

c. REIW Asia Awards for Excellence 2013 – Best Property Advisory/Consultancy

Property types

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Top Real Estate Agencies in Japan: The Definitive Guide

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Japan has long been the favorite spot when foreigners travel or relocate to Asia, in fact, there are around 3 times more foreigners living in Japan compared to China, for example. Of course, this has helped to drive up the demand for property in the residential sector and the commercial sector.

You have a number of real estate agencies to choose among, being one of the financial hearts in Asia, every major player in the real estate industry has set up offices here. You’ll also be able to find a number of local ones that have a long history of helping foreigners who wish to buy properties.

In this article, I list some of the biggest and most popular real estate agencies in Japan.

Introductory remark

The real estate agencies are listed in a random order.

1. Ken Corporation

Ken Corporation established its first office in 1972 and currently has seven offices in Tokyo and one in Yokohama. With an impressive number of 480 professionals and managing around 13,000 properties the company has established a great footprint in Tokyo.

You’ll also find a number of affiliated companies directly connected to Ken Corporation, working with a number of services like hotel management, investment advice, design & construction and more.

Property types

Includes mainly residential properties like apartments, condos and houses.

Services offered

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Top 10 Property Developers in Japan: A Complete Guide

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Japan is one of a few developed countries in Asia and has managed to build up a number of reputable companies over the decades.

Not surprisingly, you’ll find a number of local real estate developers that build different kinds of property, not only in Japan, but also overseas.

In this article, I list some of the biggest and most reputable property developers in Japan.

1. Mori Trust

Mori Trust Co., Ltd. is a leading Japanese real estate developer, headed by Akira Mori, the 7th richest person in Japan. The company was founded in 1970 with a base in Tokyo and is one of the oldest property developers in the country.

It was formerly known as Mori Building Development Co., Ltd but changed name to Mori Trust in 1999. The company owns a multiple number of subsidiaries, including Mori Trust Hotels & Resorts.

Mori Trust is also developing office buildings in the United States.

Property types

They build residential projects, office buildings, apartments, condominiums, hotels, resorts, and retail projects. However, they’re best known for their high-rise condominium residential projects.

Continue reading Top 10 Property Developers in Japan: A Complete Guide

How to Buy Property in Hokkaido: A Complete Guide

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Hokkaido gets increasingly popular among foreign and Japanese investors, who want to find cheaper property, a holiday retreat or just a place to escape the hustle and bustle.

You most often hear that foreigners go to Hokkaido (and often Sapporo) to spend one or two weeks skiing.

The other seasons are also great, offering a great quality of life and astonishing nature.

In this article, I explain all the essentials you need to know when buying property in Hokkaido.

Hokkaido real estate market

Hokkaido and its real estate market are significantly different from the Japanese mainland and the three major Japanese islands.

Firstly: It’s among the least densely populated areas in Japan, the population density is less than 65 people per kilometer.

That’s around 1% compared to the population density in Tokyo, where the density is more than 6000 people per km.

Secondly: it’s the 2nd largest island in Japan, but also the northernmost part of the country, thus exposed to a colder climate, with a comparatively harsher winter season.

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How to Buy Property in Yokohama: The Definitive Guide

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Investors are moving firmly towards the Yokohama property market as Tokyo has gone increasingly expensive over the years.

In fact, Yokohama is an overlooked city that is getting more and more appreciated, not only by locals, but also foreigners.

With an increasing population, the demand will also stay relatively high, compared to many other cities in Japan.

In this article, I explain the essentials when buying property in Yokohama.

Yokohama property market

Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan in terms of population, but most populous in terms of density.

The city has become a popular destination for foreigners, in fact, the foreign population has increased to a record number of 8%, and is still growing.

Yokohama is unique for one reason: while its population has increased the past decades, the population in Japan is shrinking.

Even in the 1950’s, Yokohama was the 4th most populous city in Japan, but temporarily climbed to a 1st position in 1985.

So: as the population increases, demand increases. Hong Kongers are some of the foreigners who now turn to Yokohama as property gets too expensive back home.

Continue reading How to Buy Property in Yokohama: The Definitive Guide