These days, when Japan’s property market makes the headlines at all, it’s usually for the wrong reasons: The millions of homes sitting empty across the country, perhaps, or the notoriously poor investment that buying a house can prove.

A home can often be worthless by the time a buyer has repaid the mortgage. But look at it from the perspective of housing as a roof over people’s heads rather than a store of a value, and Japan starts to look like a success.

Even in these post-COVID-19 times, the country faces no affordability crisis. Rents are stable — one key reason that inflation is so comparatively low — and housing can be found for almost any budget. Few ever need to queue to view an apartment, and even now banks are competing with one another to offer ever lower variable-rate mortgages for buyers. With five times the populace, Tokyo in a typical year adds three times more dwellings than the entire U.K.