Japanese are borrowing for smaller homes than ever

Apartment and detached home sizes shrink over the last decade

A traditional Japanese room in Kamikochi. lusia83/Shutterstock

The average home purchased in Japan has been shrinking in size for the last decade, according to a new report by the government-backed Japan Housing Finance Agency.

A borrower under the agency’s home loan programme Flat 35 purchased last year an apartment with a size of 65.90 square metres (709 square feet) on average, marking the sixth consecutive year of declines. In the greater Tokyo region, the average apartment would only be as large as 62.90 square metres (677 square feet).

The shrinkage also manifested in detached housing. The average floor size of a detached second-hand home decreased to 111.70 sqm (1,202 sq ft), the fourth consecutive year of declines.

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Apartment purchasers under Flat 35 were aged 40.9 years on average with average annual household earnings of JPY5.85 million (USD54,000) and an average income size of 2.4 individuals. Borrowers who sought detached homes were aged 42.2 on average, with an average household size of 3.2 persons and an average household income of JPY5 million.

Borrowers commonly sought apartments worth JPY29.8 million and detached homes at JPY24.7 million on average. The average loan represented 84.6 percent of the apartment purchase price and 86.2 percent of the detached house’s price.

The report also found that second-hand apartments in Japan are aging fast. Around 11.8 percent of second-hand apartments are now over 41 years old on average, up from 0.2 percent in 2008. Those under 10 years old accounted for 18.1 percent of the total, down from 49.8 percent in 2008.