Retirement homes come of age in booming market

| Jan 6, 2014

Retirement homes come of age in booming market

In order to address its rapidly aging society, the Japanese government has enacted a variety of measures since the start of the millennium, mostly related to the health care system. A more pressing matter is housing, since so many elderly people will be living ...

Water, water, it's not everywhere

| Dec 2, 2013

Water, water, it's not everywhere

There are aspects of everyday life that renters take for granted, such as access to utilities. Of course, renters pay for their own electricity and gas, and, depending on where they live, they may be billed for water and sewerage. Homeowners pay for these ...

Warming up for the winter chill

| Nov 4, 2013

Warming up for the winter chill

In 2000 we moved into an apartment in Tokyo run by the semi-public housing corporation UR. It was new and had a natural-gas heating system. Unlike other gas systems we’d used in the past, however, this one heated water that was then circulated to ...

The build-up to get that housing loan

| Sep 30, 2013

The build-up to get that housing loan

Several years ago, we went to a bank in Tokyo that was advertising housing loans with easy terms. Though we weren’t shopping for a loan at the time we wanted to see what was needed in order to apply for one. The bank’s approval ...

Housing loans: Nothing is 100 percent easy

| Sep 2, 2013

Housing loans: Nothing is 100 percent easy

The government has yet to confirm the timing of the approved consumption tax increase from 5 to 8 percent. It’s slated to take place next April but there is still fear that the economy is too frail to withstand the effect the added tax ...

The aging issue of Chiba New Town

| Aug 5, 2013

The aging issue of Chiba New Town

The Chiba New Town development project was begun in the late 1960s by the Chiba prefectural government, and a decade later, joined by the Land Development Corporation, the government housing organ that would morph into the Urban Renaissance (UR) Agency in 2004. It is ...

Moved by the benefits of mobile-home housing

| Jul 2, 2013

Moved by the benefits of mobile-home housing

The model house sat on an empty patch of brown land along a commercial stretch of road in southern Ibaraki Prefecture. Few people would have identified it as a model house. It had a forlorn, out-of-place look to it. Technically, it was a mobile ...

Sometimes it pays to look on the bright side

| Jun 4, 2013

Sometimes it pays to look on the bright side

The flyers were provocative: New houses priced at more than ¥35 million, but the builder promised that the mortgage would amount to ¥0 a month. A free house is obviously too good to be true, but we decided to check out the merchandise to ...

On uneven ground: landfill property pitfalls

| May 14, 2013

On uneven ground: landfill property pitfalls

After the real estate agent unlocked the front door, the musty smell told us that the house had not been aired for some time. He laid out slippers for us and proceeded to raise the shutters and open the windows. Then, upon entering the ...