Pixabay: Japan

Even as African nations grapple with the affordable housing challenge, in Japan the government has done a remarkable thing, but not without cause. The government and many home owners have are simply left without choice.

The Asian giant which had about 8 million abandoned houses in 2013 according to government reports, has launched an initiative to give about 10 million houses for free or at great discounts. Insider reports that there is even a listing site in the country where free houses can be found while others at throw away prices.

The government of Japan is initiating the program to reduce the number of abandoned houses in the country but researchers say the problem could only get worse for japan in the coming years. According to Nomura Research Institute (NRI) forecasts, the number of abandoned homes could rise to 21.7 million by 2033, nearly one-third of all homes in the country.

The Institute further says that the continuing trend if not reversed could bring the government could bring the government to cross roads on whether to cut down on new construction, which could also negatively impact the economy.

Part of the reason for the government’s housing oversupply dilemma is the aging Japanese population, natural disasters that have seen people abandon certain localities, combined with a Japanese superstition about abandoned homes some of which are perceived to have macabre influences.

This is especially true when unnatural events like homicides or unexplained deaths can be attributed to the residence. According to Travel & Leisure magazine, in japan there is even a listing website showing houses that people should avoid to or brush shoulders with bad omen.

In the program, the Japanese government also intends to renovate some of the buildings that have fallen into disrepair following extended periods of abandonment. In some places, local authorities are offering subsidies to encourage owners into upgrading the properties. The problem lies in part to the fact that most people prefer modern housing instead of second-hand houses.

It estimated that most houses in Japan depreciate to zero within 20 years


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