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Homes in Tokyo is pretty expensive. It’s easily on the top of any world city ranking for house price. According to one recent number this year, the average new home price in Tokyo is US$603,000 (RM2.5 million) While no size was mentioned but Japanese are not known to love huge houses. Here’s that article in resources.realestate.co.jp. On a year vs year basis, the price has gone up 8.5 percent. However at the same time, Japan is also an ageing nation which meant that the young population is actually fewer than the older ones. Japan’s median age is 46 years. Briefly, in 2017 the population actually DROPPED by nearly 400,000. “Number of babies born in 2017 was 946,060. Number of deaths was 1.3 million. It meant Japan’s population fell by a whopping 394,373 people in 2017.” Article in businessinsider.my here.

What this meant for Japan as a nation is that many old homes are now abandoned, especially in some towns where the working population is equal to those over 64 years old. Here’s one Article in Japantimes.co.jp  What is happening is that some towns are now offering homes to lure the younger population to move into them. In fact if they were to stay in them for 15 years, the homes may be transferred to them! Two awesome things here. The town planners are very creative and clever. Luring younger population will rejuvenate the town. Second thing is that the younger generation who may struggle to buy an expensive home to grow their family could actually do it for almost free!The town provides up ¥2 million for renovations. There are definitely requirements to follow though: some of those programmes are geared toward married couples aged 45 or below and families where the parents are 50 years old or below with a child who is of junior high school age or younger. Here’s that article for reference. 

Malaysia has around 20 years more to reach the ‘ageing nation’ status but if we look at some older towns, this same issue which Japan is facing is also happening too. One day if the property prices are totally out of reach of some households, it is actually possible for the government to step in and do something similar. Many of these smaller towns are connected via trunk roads but many have attractions which could be a selling point for more visitors. They however need a younger population to maximise the potential from these visitors. Relying on just the 65 year olds to open shops or restaurants or even some businesses is going to be tough. Some schools in these small towns may have fewer students than the teachers! I see opportunities for the government to start thinking and learning from all these advanced nations who are already facing this situation today. Waiting may not be an option. Happy learning.

written on 18 Nov 2018

Next suggested article:   When we are living much longer, better prepare more.

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