As a millennial living in fast-paced KL, when we look at our income, cost of living and our student loan debt, the idea of buying something as expensive as a house is somewhat… a dream. But over in Japan, their government is launching a programme to help fill up their 8 million abandoned homes throughout the country, and they’re offering each at next to nothing, or for nothing at all.
What’s the catch? According to Matador Network, local citizens have a consistent superstition about these old homes. As many of these homes were vacated as the result of natural disaster, they come along with horror stories. But natural disasters aren’t the only reason for homes being considered unlucky…
The Japanese try to avoid homes where people died violently, unnatural deaths or “lonely deaths” (in isolation) because for them it’s just straight up bad luck or they
think know it’s haunted. In fact, they even have a website that’s dedicated to revealing which house listings should be avoided.
With this kind of mentality, it’s no wonder there are 8 million abandoned houses according to a 2013 government report, as no one would even come near them. As the Japanese government recognises this problem, they may also be offering funds to renovate the properties, especially in instances where they were abandoned and left in disrepair, which is common in the country known for its ageing and decreasing population.
According to The Japan Times, the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) predicts that the number of abandoned homes could rise to 21.7 million by 2033, nearly one third of all homes in the country.
“If this continues, at some point it may be necessary to consider limiting new construction. But that would have a substantial impact on the economy,” said Wataru Sakakibara, a senior consultant at NRI.
There is also a lighter, heart-warming side to the housing glut issue in Japan–many of those who inherited these houses from their parents intend to keep them even though they might not necessarily want live in them. And they do so as a way to keep the memories of their parents alive.
Nevertheless, in this economy, some of us might risk it all and move to Japan now (of course, the Japanese government isn’t famous for being friendly to migrating foreigners as well). So, if you’re a skeptic and you think that ghosts tales are all BS, maybe you can finally find your dream house somewhere over there. Or maybe you religious folks can pray the hantu away. That always works here in Malaysia.
To check out some of the house listing, click here.
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