Japan’s overall world narrative is moving towards declining population, aging population, and abandoned houses. According to Mizuho Realtyapartment vacancy rates in major cities hovered around 3% in 2018. The pandemic has created some fluctuations in rental property occupancy rates in major cities, but turnover remains high and vacancy may be weak.
For the tenant, this means two things:
- Central and convenient areas are in high demand, and apartments come and go in weeks, sometimes even less.
- Searching for apartments too far in advance can be disadvantageous as other properties may open later.
In general, real estate agents recommend that tenants allocate about 6-8 weeks from looking for an apartment to moving in. This time frame gives the tenant a more accurate picture of the apartments available on the market and also gives them enough time to plan and move.
*Pro tip: March is moving season in Japan. At the end of the fiscal year/beginning of the new fiscal year, companies move their employees and a new class of hires enters large companies, making it the busiest time for movers. This means that moving prices will be more expensive. If you can avoid moving at this time, you’ll save on moving costs, but it’s also a time when there are the most options on the rental market (but they are disappearing fast!).