The house pictured above is on a major road in the city of Inzai, Chiba Prefecture. It was built in 2004 on a 446.28-square-meter plot of land. The floor area of the house itself is 82.29 square meters. It is less than one minute from a bus station. The bus ride from that station to Inzai Makinohara station on the Hokuso train line is 13 minutes (from Inzai Makinohara to Nihombashi is a little less than an hour). Since the land is relatively large, there are none of the usual privacy problems one gets in Japanese housing developments, and the lack of buildings in the surrounding area means the house gets a lot of sunshine from three different directions.
According to Inzai city records, the average price of a single-family home in this particular area of the city is ¥24 million. This house is now on sale for ¥15 million. It has been on sale for more than three months, which is why we went to see what it looked like. With the conditions we mentioned above, this should be a steal, but for some reason no one seems to want it. Of course, normally in Japan, a house that’s older than 20 years, unless it’s in the middle of a major city, has no value. This one isn’t that old, and though it’s hardly impressive in terms of design or style, it still seems to be in good shape. Moreover, the land, which is on a major thoroughfare, should be worth quite a bit (if Inzai’s assessment protocols can be considered accurate).
But even if the property’s continued vacancy seems a mystery, it’s not a place that we ourselves would ever want to own, and maybe that feeling, more than the logic of the economics, says something.