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Japan is giving away vacant homes for free, and we’ve already booked our one-way plane tickets

Image via Visit Japan
Words by Nicole La Ruffa

Pack your bags.

If the prospect of owning a home is a little out of reach, it may be time to hop abroad and fashion a new life in Japan.

It turns out, the country has been selling abandoned homes for very little and in some cases, for free.

The scheme was initiated in a bid to downsize the number of vacant homes in the country’s suburbs and cities, which stood at eight million in 2013This hefty number is largely due to Japan’s ageing population, and the roaming superstition that homes associated with certain deaths (caused by murder, suicide or loneliness) are considered to be bad luck.

On Akiya Banks  the database of abandoned homes for sale you can scroll through potential properties and their accompanying descriptions. One home, which reads: ‘cheap property from vacant house bank property in Kitsuki-shi, Oita prefecture’, is selling for a mere 150,000 yen a little under $2000 Australian dollars. Others are simply listed for nothing at all, you just need to change the land title.

That settles it: our bags are all packed, and we’re ready for the move.  

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