Homing in on longer-lasting houses

While the 100-year-life mentality may take time to sink in across industry and politics, it is already making its mark in one fundamental area of Japanese life - its "slash and burn" housing market.

The average freestanding house in Japan is built with an expected lifespan of 30 years. According to Nomura, the value of the building (as opposed to the land, which retains its value) will have depreciated to zero some eight years before that. Old homes are sold with the expectation that they will immediately be knocked down; new builds with the expectation that they will one day be razed rather than steadily improved as they might be in Europe or the United States.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 12, 2018, with the headline 'Homing in on longer-lasting houses'. Subscribe