Japan's Vacant Homes Problem: Lifull Introduces Homeownership Via NFT, New iBuyer Launches

January 24, 2024
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Real estate marketplace operator Lifull says it plans to tackle Japan's vacant homes problem by incentivising buyers to buy second homes via non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Lifull's NFT vehicle will allow would-be second homeowners the opportunity to buy a second home for as little as one day at a time via Coincheck—Japan's most popular Bitcoin wallet and exchange service —by the end of January.

It appears to be the first time Japanese buyers will be able to invest in real estate via cryptocurrency without first converting it into yen.

Japan has circa eight and a half million vacant homes nationwide and a vacancy rate of 13.6%, the highest ever, according to Lifull's news release published on 23 January.

NFT buyers will be able to take a stake in one of Lifull's refurbished villas and be granted access to accommodation rights in those properties every year, as well as the ability to make reservations.


Meanwhile, in a more familiar attempt to capitalise on Japan's empty homes problem, Japanese real estate group Wish.co has launched an iBuying platform that has vowed to buy a property on your behalf if a broker or real estate company turns you down.

Wish.co's website says it can complete a transaction in as little as seven days, compared to the 4-7 months via the traditional process. The firm also offers to appraise and find an estimated price within three business days of the initial inquiry.

Wish.co also says it does not charge a brokerage fee for its iBuying offer (usually 3%), with all-cash offers for purchased properties.

January 24, 2024
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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