Property prices in Japan are so high that mortgage terms of 100 years are commonplace. These multi-generation mortgages are indicators of what foreigners should prepare for if they enter the Japanese property market. There are no laws restricting foreigners´ purchase of property – the market´s climate and procedures do that themselves.
Foreigners must be permanent residents in order to apply for loans from Japanese banks, and even then they will require a financial guarantor. Japanese banks are still traumatized from the Lost Decade (and the recent recession), so they demand references and detailed financial records with loan applications. Foreigners who do not have a long-standing relationship with a Japanese bank will find it virtually impossible to get a loan.
Finally, the unhealthy character of the Japanese housing market for the last twenty years makes long-term investment inadvisable at best.
All of this explains why most Japanese families also choose to rent their homes!
Finding property in Japan
If you do have the financial means to purchase a property in Japan, you can search in any of the real estate directories offered at book stores and news stands, or contact a local real estate agent. You might also consider consulting a large real estate agency such as Century 21 Sankei Realty for help finding a suitable property.