Sunday, May 16, 2010
Buying a House in Japan Part 2 - It's all about location
To slowly continue this series, as you might remember, we left off where the Salaryman family had decided to set their sights on purchasing a house and not a apartment (here).
Then the next set of choice came up; where to start looking for said house. Considering that I work in central Tokyo, we obviously needed somewhere reasonably accessible through commute. The options were to search in central Tokyo or in the surrounding prefectures (Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa prefectures primarily) which can provide reasonable access although a significant commute to and from work.
After some initial scouting we came to the following conclusion; Buying a house in metropolitan Tokyo would have the benefit of a short commute and also being a pretty safe investment since the land prices in central Tokyo very likely will not take a huge dive. However, that said, they also are extremely expensive and with land being as valuable as it is, houses are focused on being built narrow and high instead of broad and wide... So basically a house with two bathrooms, three rooms +living/dining room end up being three stories high and very narrow. Also, if you're lucky you could get a parking space and garden suitable for one bicycle and one potted plant. But if you get that you should be grateful, considering that the land is basically gold.
In contrast, looking outside Tokyo, for half the price of that in central Tokyo we could get a house roughly twice the area, with a garden and parking space for two larger size trucks, with the downside of an increased commuting time of about an hour single way...
As readers of my blogs have noticed, after the move I started up the "Commuter terrorists" series of posts, so I think it is pretty obvious which path we decided to pursue...