Kyoto Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(Kyoto, Kansai, Central Honshu, Japan)

Kyoto is the cultural epicentre of Japan, riddled with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, atmospheric alleyways and more than a few outstanding properties for sale or rent. Since its tenure as medieval Japan's capital, this city has been one of the most important in Asia.

Properties here are admittedly expensive, though not quite to the extent of Tokyo. There are affordable apartments near the city centre, alongside luxury condominiums and traditional homes with a view. The best concentration of houses is located in Sakyo-ku, a traditional neighbourhood north of the city centre. Kita-ku has a similar atmosphere.

Foreign investment in Kyoto real estate is a relatively new phenomenon, and some of the bureaucratic details make it difficult for the unconnected to tap into the housing market. That said, there are some excellent deals to be had on Kyoto property, with more condominiums built each year to cater for increased foreign interest.

Renting Serviced Apartments

While not as common as in Tokyo, there is a great selection of serviced apartments available for rent in Kyoto. These are mainly located near residential hubs like those in Kita-ku and Sakyo-ku, but they are also found in more central locations. A standard unit is fully furnished and includes amenities such as cable television, Internet access and a full, if compact, kitchen.

Serviced apartments are available in a variety of styles, including studios, duplexes and villas. Usually, the tenant is required to pay for one month at a time, though in certain cases a minimum stay of longer than one month may be enforced. On longer timelines like this, serviced apartments emerge as excellent value-for-money options.

Buying Apartments and Houses

Buying a house or apartments in Kyoto is a complicated process, especially for foreigners. Buyers work through an agent and are required to submit a non-binding letter of intent to the seller, and to sign a purchase contract. A one-time tax on the order of seven to eight percent is levied on top of the purchase price.

Getting a loan is the most difficult aspect for foreign buyers in Kyoto. In order to qualify, the buyer must have permanent resident status and an annual income in excess of four million yen. The loan applicant has to reside in the property being purchased and may be required to supply a guarantor. Anti-capital-gains measures include a hefty 40-per-cent tax on properties sold within five years of purchase.

Real Estate Agents

Given the cumbersome bureaucracy associated with purchasing property in Kyoto, it is definitely a good idea to secure the services of a real estate agent as soon as possible. Finding an English-speaking agent can be difficult, but those who do speak are generally well-versed in overcoming the restrictions faced by foreigners.

Check out the following Kyoto real estate agents:

House Network, Co. Ltd.
Address: 329 Imadegawacho, Karasuma-dori-imadegawa-agaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8492, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 251 2300
This is one of the most reliable English-speaking real estate agencies in Kyoto, with rentals and for-sale properties listed.

International Elitz
Address: 1-4 Kamigamo Aoiden-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8012, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 0120 975 402
Elitz connects buyers and renters with properties across the region. There are several offices within the Greater Kyoto area.

Tango Hanto
Address: Shinmachi Mineyamacho, Kyoto, 603-8012, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 0772 622 600
Email: via website
Tango Hanto has English-speaking realtors for consultations with foreign investors in the city.