Foreigners are allowed to obtain Japanese real estate
Nowadays, there are no legal limitations or tax-related differences when foreigners obtain Japanese real estate. You may purchase real estate regardless of what your nationality is, where you live, and whether you have residence status. However, there are differences in the documents needed by residents and non-residents (mainly documents for confirming the person's identity) and in the requirements for an account at a Japanese bank with regard to receiving purchase funds and paying taxes on real estate after purchase.
How are residents and non-residents defined ?
A resident is an individual whose residence is in Japan or who has been in Japan for at least one year continuously up to the present. If a person resides in two or more countries, that person's "assumed residence" is based on such details as his/her work situation and contract.
A non-resident is an individual who resides outside of Japan.
Essentially, if a non-resident is purchasing investment property, it will be difficult to do so with a loan from a Japanese bank. For more details, see "Purchase funds and post-purchase fees".
How to obtain information on purchasing real estate
Information on purchasing Japanese real estate is available online and can be obtained even by people living outside Japan. However, there are also properties with no information available online, so it is better to actually go to Japan and obtain up-to-date information from real estate agents based in specific areas. We at KEN Corporation have a solid track record of conducting real estate transactions within the Tokyo-Yokohama area and have a great deal of up-to-date information available, making us an ideal partner for helping you to find property.
About land prices being included in purchase costs
Usually, in Japan, the purchase price of a condominium or detached house includes not only the cost of the building but the cost of the land, and the purchaser obtains ownership rights to the land. However, condominiums and houses are also sometimes purchased with "leasehold rights" under which the purchaser owns the building itself but can only lease the land. Such property has the advantage of being cheaper to purchase than property that includes land ownership rights. Property with "fixed term land lease rights", for which the period that the land can be leased is determined in advance, is particularly common with high-rise condominiums and similar property in downtown Tokyo. Most such cases involve long-term leases with a contract period of 50 years or longer, and this is regarded as being reasonable because it permits the establishment of housing in favorable locations with a minimal burden at time of purchase.