Unsellable

usuidai

A room with a sorta view

Several months ago we looked at house in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture that was built in the early 90s. It was on the side of a fairly steep hill and commanded a view of Inba Marsh to the northeast; or, at least, that was what the info at various real estate portal sites implied. The place had already been on the market for almost six months, and when we noticed that the price had been cut for the second time we thought we might take a look at it. Originally, it was about ¥18 million and now it was ¥13 million.

The owners were still living there, but the agent said it would be no problem to look at it. Inspecting properties where people still live isn’t much fun and usually not very helpful. Though you can get some idea of the functionality of a place by seeing how people live in it, those people’s mode of living is always very different from our own, so there’s nothing to gain from it. We have to imagine ourselves in this place without all their stuff.

This particular house was even worse than we could imagine, since the photos on the web didn’t include interior shots. The residents didn’t even bother to clean up and we walked through bedrooms (they have two kids) with laundry thrown on the floor and a kitchen so cramped and cluttered there didn’t seem to be anywhere to stand. Even the “view” that the portal site had publicized turned out to be nothing. The only vista was from one of the bedrooms. It was impossible to tell how much work the place would need since it was difficult to see the floors and walls.

We promptly crossed it off our list and would have forgotten about it completely but it remained on the market and thus on all the portal sites we checked regularly. Last week we noticed that the owner had decreased the price again, this time to ¥8.9 million, which is quite a drop. That means the asking price is now about half what it was when it first went on sale. The agent let on that the family couldn’t move until they sold this house, but if that’s the case they are going to have to do something more than just keep cutting the price. Maybe the house is unsellable anyway, but in this market, which is filling up with older homes all the time, a low price isn’t enough. This particular house isn’t that close to the station. Would a better “presentation” help? It couldn’t hurt, but in any case it’s hard to imagine that there is a buyer out there who would want to buy such a place.

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One comment

  1. Nando · May 13, 2013

    I expect you’ve seen these two articles in the Yomiuri about vacant houses, They seem to be reporting on what you’ve been saying for a while here.
    http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000219373
    and
    http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000219367

    Neither article touches on the madness that is the constant building of more and more new units, and the slice-of-cake size of what I call “three-box” housing, which are the typical subdivisions, where basically each house seems to consist of three rooms stacked on top of each other, with half of a car sticking out at the front. If there are tens of thousands of empty houses even in Tokyo and Osaka, how about amalgamating plots of land and building bigger houses with more space between buildings. I’m sure local governments could think of tax incentives to make it more worth developers’ while to do this.

    Like

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