Buying a Property in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
May 31, 2024

Buying a Property in Kansai

If you’re planning the big move to Japan, you may have your heart set on buying your own place rather than renting a home. Kansai has some great properties to buy in places like Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. However, the Japanese home-buying process might be a bit different from what you’d expect. Here’s a quick rundown.

Who Can Buy Property in Japan?

Legally, anyone can buy property in Japan even if they don’t live there. However, if you need a mortgage to buy a home then you will need to have Japanese residency. Expats will typically need permanent residence status, although some lenders may offer small mortgages to temporary residents. Additionally, you will usually need a Japanese bank account and a Japanese ID number (known as My Number) to get a mortgage.

Property Prices in Kansai

Japanese property prices tend to vary according to factors such as property type, size, location and age. Apartments (condominiums) are typically more expensive than houses, many of which are wooden and decrease more quickly in value due to having a shorter lifespan. Kansai is slightly cheaper on average than Japan as a whole. New condominiums cost an average of just under 47 million yen compared to 49 million yen for the national average (2022).

The breakdown by location is:

  • Osaka city = 45.8 million yen
  • Kyoto city = 59.8 million yen
  • Kobe city = 50 million yen
  • Nara = 38.6 million yen
  • Shiga = 38.5 million yen
  • Wakayama = 38.3 million yen

The average purchase price for other housing types across Japan in 2022 were:

  • Custom-build house with land = 47 million yen
  • Pre-built home = 37 million yen
  • Used condominium = 32 million yen
  • Used detached house = 27 million yen

You can also look at buying a traditional wooden house built before 1950 (koryoya) that often sells for less than 5-10 million yen although they will need more maintenance.

When buying property in Kansai, you’ll need to bear in mind a range of other costs on top of the property price. These include:

  • Taxes – these include acquisition, city planning, fixed asset and registration taxes that usually work out at between 7-8% of the property value
  • Realtor fee – around 3-4% of property value
  • Stamp duty – anything between 5,000 and 500,000 yen
  • Mortgage costs, insurance and maintenance fees

Finding a Property in Kansai

You can find properties in Kansai using a realtor. There are over 350,000 real estate agents across Japan. English-speaking and expat-friendly agents operating in Kansai include Real Estate Japan and Move2Japan.

You can also search for homes online using property portals. Good sites include:

Buying Your Kansai Property: Step-by-Step Process

Once you’ve found the property you wish to buy and have sorted out your finances for your purchase, you can proceed with the sale. This generally consists of three steps:

Step 1: Make an offer

This involves sending a letter of intent to the seller, usually through a realtor. The agent will negotiate on your behalf. Depending on the property, your offer could be up to 10% below the asking price. Offers are not legally binding and you can change your mind at this point, although it can affect your relationship with the agent.

Step 2: Pay the deposit

Once you have read any documents provided about the property, for example legal description and survey results, you will need to pay the deposit (approx. 10-20%). The estate agent will hold this and release when you sign the contract. You may lose this deposit, or part of it, if you pull out of the sale at this stage.

Step 3: Sign the contract and complete the sale

Both parties sign the contract and purchase agreements, usually at a bank. You will need to employ a solicitor to deal with the contract, register the title deeds and settle the remaining balance on your behalf.

Once you have done this, congratulations… you now have your new home!


Note from the Editor: Please feel free to consult the expert staff at for all of your Japan property needs!

Yoichi Nakanshi, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

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