Where the spike is

The one area of housing that has seen some improvement over the last year or so is apartment for senior citizens. As Japan’s population’s median age continues to increase, there is greater demand for nursing homes. It’s a demand that isn’t being met by the public sector. Private sector nursing homes are very expensive and thus only the well-to-do can afford them. However, housing developers have stepped in and built affordable housing specially designed for older residents.

In fact, the number of apartment units for seniors has actually doubled from a year ago. A registry for this kind of specialized housing started in 2005. By Mar. 2007 the number of units was about 10,000, and increased to 18,800 by Mar. 2008. It now stands at about 36,000 units. According to a Kyodo report, a private research firm says it will likely increase to 73,000 units by Mar. 2014.

Though designed for seniors, there are no regulations restricting their use to seniors. Rent tends to range from ¥100,000 to ¥200,000 a month, which is much lower than monthly charges at private nursing homes.

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