Welcome to Hakuba.com’s Comprehensive First Timer’s Guide to Hakuba Real Estate. The blog serves as a great starting point for anyone interested in learning more about real estate in Hakuba. Enter your email address in the Enquire Now form and we will send a PDF version of this guide for you to have.
- Market Overview
- Where to Find Property?
- Investing Process
- Where in Hakuba to buy?
- What Should I Expect to Pay?
Japanese ski resorts have experienced a resurgence in recent years relying largely on inbound tourism from Australian snow enthusiasts. Niseko on Japan’s northern island has benefited most from this foreign influx with half of its visitors traveling from overseas resulting in an exponential escalation in asset prices.
Unlike Niseko, Hakuba, continues to offer quality real estate at realistic prices and we believe is primed for further growth. The Hakuba Valley is only 3.5 hours from Tokyo, averages over 9 meters of powder snowfall annually (more than Whistler, Vail, or Aspen), and has been added to Epic Pass, the largest season pass globally (776,000 holders).
We believe as Hakuba’s popularity continues to grow the number of foreign visitors to the valley will likewise grow. This growth is supported by the Japanese government which has targeted a goal of 40 million foreign tourists for 2020, some of whom we believe will be visiting the snow.
Additionally, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, and the Chinese government has set a goal of raising the number of Chinese snow enthusiasts from 8 million to 320 million by the start of the games. It’s likely that many Chinese Tourists will choose to spend their snow holidays on the Japanese slopes given their proximity to Japan and the superior quality of snow relative to the rest of Asia.
The first question we often receive from those interested in investing in Hakuba is “Can I receive financing for my investment property?” The answer is possibly.
Australian citizens are eligible for loans from several Australian banks in Yen using their property in Australia as collateral.
Tokyo Star Bank, a subsidiary of a Taiwanese bank, offers financing to Taiwanese and Chinese nationals for real estate investment.
Can I finance through a Japanese Bank?
It’s possible but it is quite challenging to meet the criteria. There are scenarios in which this is possible but it requires having a Japanese spouse, a business in Japan for multiple years, or having Japanese residency, proof of study income and several years of work history in Japan. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive list of requirements please visit this resource.
How to I Find Available Property in Hakuba?
The best place to begin researching available properties in English is on the following sites:
If you have Japanese language skills you should try the following sites:
The Hakuba Investing Process
Foreigners can purchase and own real estate without Japanese residency in Hakuba but may find the cultural and language differences difficult to navigate. This can be mitigated by hiring a real estate agent to translate and facilitate your transaction.
In addition to real estate agent fees, brokerage fees are mandated by law from both the buyer and seller for ¥60,000 plus the following Brokerage rates:
- Property Price ¥1,000,000 to ¥2,000,000 = x5%
- Property Price ¥2,000,000 to ¥4,000,000 = x4%
- Property Price ¥4,000,000 or more = x3%
Research Property and Financing
Once you have identified interesting properties via the sources above, you can ask your agent to request one of the following property reports to learn more about the state of the property.
- Basic Report (¥35,000) – standard summary of building structure and items of concern.
- Detailed Report (¥250 per sq/m) all specifics of the interior, exterior, and basic structure.
Letter of Intent (買付証明書 or kaitsuke shoumeisho)
The next step is to submit a letter of intent to the seller. The letter serves as a starting point for negotiations and indicates you are seriously considering the property.
Pay Earnest Deposit (手付金 tetsukekin)
The Earnest Deposit (手付金 tetsukekin) is a payment to the seller also indicating the seriousness of the buyer’s intention. It is counted towards the purchase price once completed and is usually between 5-10% of the total purchase price.
Explanation of Important Matters(重要事項説明書 )
Next you will receive a legal disclosure document (重要事項説明書 juuyoujikou setsumeisho) from the seller’s agent outlining all of the key information required to make an informed decision. It is required by the law that buyer receive this document and a verbal explanation of it before making a purchase. The document and the explanation in many cases will be done in Japanese.
Once you have agreed on terms with the seller you’ll sign a purchase agreement. You will need to sign the agreement with a stamp seal officially recognized and registered with the Japanese government. The stamp will unique to you.
Pay Remainder of Purchase Prince and Register Change of Owner
Schedule formal meeting with seller with a legal scrivener present (司法書士, shihoushoushi). The scrivener needs to be authorized by the seller to formally change the legal registration status. You can now receive transfer of property and the keys and move in to your property. You must also file taxes in Japan (確定申告kakutei shinkoku) the year after moving in.
Where in Hakuba to Invest?
The Hakuba Valley is comprised of 10 mountains with three main Villages, Echoland, Happo Village and Wadano, all located at the base of the main resort, Happo-One. These villages receive the bulk of the foreign visitors given their proximity to Happo-One, resort shuttles, restaurants and bars. In fact, our sister company, Liquid Snow Tours, has sent 7,000 visitors to the Hakuba Valley annually, all to these three villages. These areas are a great place to begin while researching investments in the Hakuba Valley.
Expect to Pay
You will find various residential, commercial, and land listings on hakubarealestate.com and srehakuba.com and the closer the property is located to Happo the more expensive it generally is. It’s best to visit these sites to familiarize yourself with the general price range.