Quote Originally Posted by Belvegas View Post
perhaps it would be interesting to consider the role trends play in this. in contrast, in niseko (another ski town in northern japan) which is very trendy now and undergoing a lot of development, a new condo of 850 square feet goes for north of US $1,000,000
On the subject of trends, sure, Japan has an aging population, negative population growth, and a restrictive immigration policy. Excess real estate not near jobs or busy areas is going to sell for very deep discounts under those circumstances. To a foreigner, the ~$5,000 condo in the original article is really only suitable as a holiday getaway. A person looking to live there day-in and day-out must either be independently wealthy or have a job that allows him to work from home. While the cost of the house seems eye-poppingly low, someone accustomed to the U.S. must also consider what will likely be very high costs for things such as an automobile and the fuel to run it, utilities (especially if one is accustomed to air conditioning), and food. On the subject of food, if one does not want to eat Japanese food all the time, being in the boonies could make it difficult and/or even more expensive to acquire certain food ingredients not commonly used in Japanese cooking.

It should also be noted that the $5,000 place is about 80 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Maybe that, too, has a bearing on the price.

Quote Originally Posted by Belvegas View Post
the skiing in niseko is likely better but would also require a flight plus a train ride to reach.

also, just to note, cheap real estate in the japanese countryside is not at all unusual. many towns have implemented various programs/incentives to try and make use of existing/unused housing and attract young people to the countryside.
Niseko is also a few hundred miles away from Fukushima so that can't hurt the price. There was a Bloomberg article a year or two ago about the empty houses in Japan or the towns with only old people in them. It remains to be seen how Japan addresses this problem. I'm not entirely sure Japan is a country that would be willing to accept a lot of non-ethnic Japanese people into the country. Also, there really isn't anything wrong with a drop in population so long as it doesn't become a spiral into extinction. The need for neverending growth is part of junk economics.