Someone sent me an email about investing in property in Japan, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts.

– Virtually impossible to get a housing loan, without a permanent resident visa. Loans not available for investment property.

– Language problems and no understanding of law in Japan. Even Japanese have trouble understanding the laws and regulations relating to property. I have lived in Japan for nine years and feel it would be frustrating having to deal with lawyers/banks/agents all in Japanese.

– Few people in Japan see property as a good investment like NZ and Australia, which I believe partly keeps prices from moving up.

– Property tax potentially high.

– High maintenance fees on apartments.

– Earthquakes. I have heard it is difficult to get earthquake insurance.

– Lack of proper government controls on building developments and construction. Currently there is a big scandal in Japan about this matter and they are pulling down buildings that were just complete.

– Declining population and almost neglible immigration, which is having no effect on the construction industry – especially in Tokyo.

– Buildings have no value after 30 years.

Sorry for all of the negatives. Here are some positives:

– Market very slowly increasing in value urban areas. Probably at the bottom now.

– Yen quite low.

– Land retains it value well.

– Some great deals in foreclosures market.

I heard Australians are buying property in Niseko, Hokkaido – a famous ski resort here.

Okinawa is also a beautiful place and could be worth looking into.