'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Zealand - peace man!

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According to some liberals at the 'Vision of Humanity', NZ is the most peaceful nation in the world. Sorry, I don't agree. These surveys are not entirely useful because 'peace' is a frightfully bad measure of health. Why?
Peace is not an indicate of well-being. Look at the runner-up 'Japan'. Japan is a highly collectivist nation. Japanese people are often very unhappy people; and they have a propensity to jump in front of trains to remind you. They feel constrained by their culture. It is fun for foreigners to come to Japan because we think their 'entrenched values' are cute, but for Japanese people, they want to stay abroad. This escapism of course is not restricted to Japan. Westerners want to go to Japan, or the Philippines, because foreign nations seem to treat one better than the servitude one sinks into when you are a 'local'. In NZ, one gets a 4-year tax holiday on offshore passive income. This is a great deal. NZ is a friendly place...but living there for the last 2 years, I have come to see it as quite a threatening place. There are anti-social elements which mean you stand a modest chance of befalling some violent death. I think one far safer in Australia; but then you stand a higher risk of being persecuted by your government in Australia.
There are however signs of improvement in Australia. Belatedly, after 2 decades of persecuting motorists, a NSW liberal MP has asked the Attorney General to investigate the use of speed cameras. A little reflection is encouraging, but actually, I don't expect much change.
The whole world is becoming a more violent place. Tempers are shorter, anxiety is more prevalent. We are all close to snapping. I am. I'm always on edge. Anyway, I'm off to the Philippines tomorrow...so I'm just as keen on the escapism as well. I have a 4 countries and I rotate to preserve my sanity.
Back to the issue of peace. Not a good measure. It can equate with repression just as much as well-being. i.e. Saddam Hussein, a vile dictator, famously kept Iraq a peaceful place until the Americans invaded. But I suspect Iraqis would prefer American occupation to Hussein back in power. That is because in this context, peace correlated with political oppression. There is no overt opppression in the West; its more subtle. We have taxation. And because we are enslaved by arbitrary law, we are more repressed than oppressed. But the distinction is more one of rationalisation, whether by you or government, and the extent to which you challenge the system of the authorities.
I joke about the use of drugs. Drugs are very popular in NZ. More so than Australia I suggest. This escapism highlights the extent that people need to resort to various forms of 'coping' in a society which disempowers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The quality of NZ expertise - or its relevance

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Scientists study facts...from facts we derive values...but might their value judgements offer more value if they actually studied value systems, whether psychology, economics or philosophy. Perhaps we ought to stop seeking the opinions of people speaking outside of their expertise. So what does this 'scientist' do? He is a physicist. What would he know about these topics. Is NZ so bored as to care what someone of no 'moral authority' cares? The NZ Herald seems to think so.
Clearly some journalists at the NZ Herald are really impressed by scientists with PhDs. Perhaps they would be less impressed if they realised that the prequalifying characteristic for getting a PhD is a great deal of self-hate. Why would you pay huge amounts of money, waste an inordinate amount of time for a qualification to impress the same type of people as you. Oh, the pay off of this self-congratulatory system is that you win the praise of unthinking journalists.

NZ Property Guide Philippine Real Estate Guide Japan Foreclosed Guide

Does NZ need a minimum wage increase?

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John Key has hit back at those who want to raise the minimum wage....saying 'they don't understand economics'.
That might well be the case, but his short quip is not going to change that. If the government is going to depart from public opinion, perhaps he ought to take responsibility for trying to change it with a lucid argument as to why minimum wages, if set at a high level, raise unemployment. At the end of the way, if the minimum wage remains low enough, a 'minimum wage' can mean absolutely nothing. If there are non-price reasons for a slack employment market, the 'minimum wage' will also mean absolutely nothing. If there is no global economic activity, and one must concede that there is always activity somewhere and everywhere, then there is not going to be job growth. i.e. Job growth really requires falling wages or expansion of demand. So people are not spending.
John Key might argue that he cannot respond to every criticism of the public. Well, agreed, but perhaps that repudiates his model of 'centralised' political administration. It appears Key has conceded that he is not up to the job. No, not at all, he is just going to pretend that he can solve all problems. But really all he wants to do is preside over the pretense of doing something, and get paid besides.
So, Key is partially right. NZ does not need a minimum wage increase. It would raise the spending of the wage earners, but it would likely cause a great number of businesses to close, and what damage it does there, will probably only result in more consumption, or debt repayments. If it would miraculously go into innvestment, that would be another thing....but there is little reason to expect that from any quarter. There is good reason to stop thinking arbitrary statutory laws are going to make a difference. They make things worse. We do not need more government distortion, we need less. After all, it was 'foreign' government distortion which caused the problem in the first place. Some will argue that the 'Fed' is a private organisation. Yes, but it was sanctioned by the US Congress back in the 1910s...1916 if I am not mistaken.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ACT-National Party coalition with biz support

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The John Key National Party government has taken the path of least resistance by in effect targeting passive income or savings as a source of taxation. The problem with this is that:
1. It does not resolve the problem of excess national consumption
2. It undermines long term savings
3. It does not resolve the parasitism in NZ elevated by a decade of socialist government, but I suspect that it does enough to rein in recurrent budget items, by targeting student loans, and a commitment to find savings in the bureaucracy over 3 years of $1billion.

The implication is that the private sector is unlikely to snub the National Party, so I think Key has done enough to prevent John Brash's ACT Party from winning a significant share of the vote in the next election. This would have been unthinkable a few months ago. We will in all probability be looking at a National Party-ACT Party coalition, with possibility ACT having 5-10 seats. Based on this budget, I do not see any National Party MPs defecting to the ACT Party - as John Brash has already done. If its going to happen there will need to be strong support for the party from business, and this budget does entail restraint. This can only mean ACT becoming smarter, and I just don't think any of the salesmen in parliament have the intellectual vigour to achieve that. Another problem for ACT is that business is surprisingly paternalistic in NZ; and not in a good way. i.e. Christian dogmatic, duplicitous, non-contextual charity more than objective, conditional, contextual empathy. I am always surprised by the level of business support for Helen Clark. This financial crisis is her legacy...at a time of high commodity prices.

Buying property in NZ - the short and long term

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This is not the time to buy property in NZ for international buyers. The public deficit is at a high point, and the government is targeting conspicuous consumption or largess as the basis for future tax receipts. So its really an addendum to the GST, which has just increased; except this tax will apply to the wealthy. This is mostly going to entail luxury sales taxes, extra property taxes on holiday houses, etc. The family home I suspect will not be touched, however there many well be an attempt to target high-value homes. i.e. Tax-free sales below $250K.

The implication of these decisions of course is that anyone sitting on luxury items like houses or yachts looks like facing a tax. The implication is that '2nd properties' are going to be entering the market. You would tend to expect most of these properties to be in the rural areas, as well as places like Wanaka, Queenstown, Wanganui, Nelson, Blenheim and the various fishing and ski resort areas. The 'bach' has long been a simply of NZ's affinity with lifestyle. It just got that little bit harder to 'live the life' in a country with a stilted domestic economy.
The best buying opportunities is likely to be in those slower demand centres like Wanganui, and even places like Napier. Tourist locations more than residential growth zones like the cities. The best opportunity is likely to be in 1-2 years, as this will correspond to:
1. A slight rise in global interest rates - given the high levels of consumer indebtedness I don't see governments willing to allow foreclosures to blow out, and NZ will benefit from high commodity prices.
2. A short term problem of high deficit placing pressure on the AUD
3. The offloading of all these properties.
4. The population decline in some rural areas means that they are likely to feature more strongly as sales opportunities. We must remember that rural areas will benefit from strong commodity prices, so the effect will be short-lived. Already there is a lot of rural 'bachs' on the market in anticipation of such taxes. Of course not everyone will sell. Some can afford the lifestyle, some use their city home as superannuation money, and their bach is the 'retirement home'; and others might rent the bach out in the off-season as a trade off.

I would be looking for the rural residential market to fall over the next year years; I'd expect the NZD to fall to a low against the AUD in 2 years given stronger outlook for food prices rather than metals; and by then NZ will have taken some steps to resolve its deficit. In 10 years, NZ will probably have a few more oil discoveries, and it will then become the land of milk and honey.

The problem of course is that John Key is doing very little to curtail the drain on the economy by taxing those who actually earn their way in the economy. There is too much parasitism in NZ, and governments are always reluctant to target them. Why? It requires an education policy, and they cannot think. Taxation requires the creativity of squirrel which collects nuts, and the roar of a lion which threatens to steal your nuts when you do something wrong. At least I know how to talk to the parasites. But I want to also tell them that its not their fault. The rich has enabled the poor and government to perpetrate this crime against humanity by not developing their critical thinking capacities. We will be driven towards fascism - not by the collectivist looking to plunder the wealth of the rich - but by the wealthy who thinks they can escape the powers of government. They will catch up with you eventually - and they will do it by paying off consultants to track you down. That's rich the private sector is being used to undermine the private sector. So your message - either develop some intellectual integrity or OBEY!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Labour Party leader Phil Goff - broken promises

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In the NZ Herald today, the Leader of the Labour Party Phil Goff asks in the parliament whether the new budget to be delivered today by Bill English will break any election promises.
I ask "Is that a good or fair question"? Or just cynical attempt to smear a politician.
I think the latter when you consider that:
1. Phil Goff is not dealing with the budget deficit
2. Phil Goff is not outlining an alternative
3. Parties ought not be tied to a political policy merely because it was advanced in the past. After all, things change, and policy has to change with it. Whether they made a mistake, or external factors changed, you celebrate responsiveness, and deal with the question of whether it is good policy 'as it stands'. Of course it would be confidence building for a party to convey some coherent fundamental ideas; but given there is little integrity in politics (given their statutory powers), you can't expect that under the current system.

This is why we have to change the system, and why Phil Goff is not good for NZ politics. John Key is little better because he is ultimately a 'centerist', unprincipled middleman with no integrity, who offers no break from the past. Keep looking NZ!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Politics - Allan Peachey MP a gem among others

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I have just been reading a book called "What's Up With Our MPs" by Allan Peachey, who wrote years ago about the NZ education system. Its not often that I read, as a critical analyst, a book which provides coherent and objective ideas on a subject. This author is indeed a very precious discovery, and I wanted to share this with New Zealanders because upon searching Google to send him a letter of praise, I came to discover that he is actually a National Party MP for Tamaki, a southern electorate of Auckland.
Now, this would be great news if he was our future NP leader or had a great deal of influence in the party. Sadly, the party seems to be captivated by more pragmatic forces, and as it our destiny under democracy, we will see policy once again dictated by the lowest common denominator; that is, an appeal to fear or short term expedient interests at the expense of long-range or rational policy objectives.
I just hope the voters of Tamaki realise the gem they have representing them. As far as I'm concerned, a diamond in a haystack is still a haystack with a lost gem.....or is that a compass needle. Anyway, Peachey MP is despite imminent education qualifications lacking the required political system to actually make a positive difference. That is where I come in.
In the meantime, I will keep looking for more gems.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Competition alive and well down under

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According to the senior executives of Jetstar and Air NZ, the recent and 'short lived' offer of $1 and $5 flights to Auckland is a sign of real and effective competition in the aviation industry. That's right, the airlines were offering 600 tickets for just 1 hour the other day, and on just one of their hundred-odd routes, and that constitutes competition.
In fairness, there is going to be some competition in this area, and the reasons are:
1. Displacement of services from Christchurch - The new terminal is complete at Christchurch airport, and I am guessing that the airport authority will be looking to raise airport fees paid by the airlines. This I believe is why Jetstar is trying to lure people to Dunedin airport. This is particularly appealing for all those travellers coming from the South. That's right, you might have to travel as far as 8 hours from the far south because of the limited connections offered from Queenstown and the premium prices you pay for them.
2. New market entrant - Air Asia is a new discount entrant into the market. It will lure passengers, but it is only going to take market share from those flying to Asia; so Jetstar after Pacific Blue's exit is going to retain the lion's share of the Australian market.

Dunedin is a big of a hole. Its a very ugly city, and its layout is messy. But it seems, if you can both chancing 1-hour discounts, and you are lucky enough to hear about one, they are not really competition. Really they are token gestures offered by airlines, and duly reported by the media. Sounds like cheap advertising to me. Yep, there are plenty of airlines offering 'discounted tickets'; the problem however is that there are:
1. So many conditions attached to them they are not worth having, i.e. No meals, no flexibility to change the flight, substantive luggage restrictions, highly pernicious penalties complying with their restrictions.
2. The need to carry the risk of buying a ticket you cannot cancel. I suspect they have made as much on unused tickets as those used.
3. The burden of having to read their 9-page list of conditions; or carrying the risk of not reading them.

Yes, competition in the modern era is an illusion. Its all about perceptions, or 'smoke and mirrors', or 'bait and switch'. There is a law against bait advertising in Australia....this seems to breach it. But of course there are those wonderful inventions - the 'asterisk' (i.e. *). They are magic to the business community. They only need to ensure that they have one on the advertisement, and all conditions are in play....and that makes it not 'bait advertising'.
For sane people like myself, the letter of 'statutory law' denies too much, and that the spirit of the law is in breach. Statutory law offers no prospect of justice so long as:
1. It remains arbitrary - no rational, principled basis, no spirit, just 'letter of the law' loopholing. i.e. The law has no context.
2. Justice is expensive - high legal fees, and the prospect of court appeals

I recall a case of a car rental company being challenged in the court by a customer who was charged enormous legal fees for the privilege of saving $50. Seems like a false economy to me. No one it took 10 fees for the practice to be challenged. In the 'common law' case of bank fees, the banks are being sued in a class action in Australia after 20 years of duping customers.

Immigration decisions - Martin Payne

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The decision-making capacities of the Immigration Dept are looking a bit dodgy in NZ. In the same week that a murderer has been allowed to stay, an old businessman who moved here on a Entrepreneurs Visa, paid $700,000 for a business, employs people in one of the highest unemployed areas, has family here, has business revenues of $2million, has been rejected.

The problem of course seems to be the way the cases were assessed. The businessman was given a visa, so he should be allowed to stay. There is an expectation of continuity when you establish a business. Deporting him can only do irreparable harm to his commercial activities, having already prompted him to move half way around the world. Read the story at the NZ Herald. You can support this guy on Facebook.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Threats made against Maori Party candidates

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Reading the NZ Herald today it is apparent that the Maori Party and newly established Mana Party seem compelled to destroy each other, and in the process drive Maori votes towards the mainstream parties. We might expect the Labour Party to be the beneficiary of this bickering. No one wins in these types of slanging matches. The implication is that we will have further concentration of power in the major parties.
The other interpretation is that such blaster is part and parcel of Maori political discourse, and that at the end of the day, they will still vote Maori. I know few Maori people, having only lived in NZ for 2 years, but I suspect a good many of them consider themselves foremost human beings, and give secondary consideration to being Maori. So it will be interesting to see how they vote....or whether they vote at all. Does Honewira MP raise the voter participation with his new party, or does he earn their derision.
It remains to be seen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Christchurch depopulation

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Depopulation is not something you'd associate with a major city; they tend to create their own buzz. In the case of Christchurch, in the wake of the earthquake, we might be seeing more of a dead cat bounce. The city will of course recover, but one is reminded that the series of earthquakes was not the only reason they left....it was just a timely excuse. Prospects are far better in Australia, and NZ'ers are voting with their feet.
In 2012 there ought to be a construction boom in Christchurch. The problem of course driving many people away is:
1. The prospect of more earthquakes
2. The cost of rebuilding
3. The unmet demand for labour, forcing up costs
4. The excuse to leave, e.g. The wage differential with Australia, stagnant growth in NZ

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Driving age in New Zealand

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NZ is considering whether it ought to change the driving age for youths. The clear motivation is the high number of deaths. My views are that age is not the issue. The issues are:
1. Consequences: Is a teen over the age of 15 years able to know the consequences of their actions. The answer is yes.
2. Driving experience: Does the youth have adequate knowledge of driving, driving conditions, driving safety to go on the road.
3. Values: Does the child have the intellectual maturity to deal with any vulnerabilities that might impact their ability to drive.

Clearly the intellectual maturity is not an issue solely restricted to youths. The problem is that politicians turn complex issues into simple media placards which does not properly respect the rights and interests of people.
We have a situation now where the government unconditionally grants drivers the right to drive on the basis of a limited test - both theory and practice. This test does not adequately reflect the range of driving experience of youths. In addition, the nature of our political system is destined to encourage youths to challenge the authority of police and more broadly the law. Far from achieving 'obedience', unfair law is a call to disregard it, and to treat it with contempt, making an subsequent difficult.

What we know about youths is that they are over-invested in what others are thinking. They don't have a well-developed sense of their own values, their character, their personal identity. That is a problem in a social context, in which they feel compelled to impress people. It is a problem in a context in which a youth is looking for a sense of control. i.e. They are looking for intellectual control, but if they can't get that, they will seek some sense of practical or concrete control, which inadvertedly might mean through driving, for a sense of efficacy they cannot get elsewhere. Most youths know their limits; however in a social or alcoholic-fulled context, these concerns are subdued.

Hone Harawira MP - ignorant or moral crusader

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What are we to make of Hone Harawira's statements that Osama bin Laden was "a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people".
The problem with these assertions is that they offer no clarity and are misleading. They show that the MP represents is ignorant, and assuming they know his values, that they share his ignorance. This is both a problem and an opportunity, because everyone is important to someone, and if we are respectful of the rights of people, then we should take an interest in what others think, and attempt to correct their assertions. This of course is more difficult if they lack a respect for facts. Here are the problems with what Hone Harawira's said:
1. Bin Laden did not advance the rights of Arabs; he exposed them to collectivist contempt, dangers of civil war.
2. Bin Laden did not convey an intellectual defence of rights, which are sadly lacking in the Middle East; instead deciding to attack a country which has one of the 'relatively' better track records. If his argument defence was that America was the better but offered a bad example, or was inconsistent, he did not make that 'intellectual argument'. He resorted to violence instead; misdirecting resentment in his own country.
3. Bin Laden might well have had some notion of rights, but it was not an objective or conceptual framework that entailed or required any intellectual discipline. His actions suggest his rights were won at the expense of others rights. Did the US model these values? Probably, as US foreign policy stinks as an educational tool. Listen to US politicians and you only get the sense that the US is out to advance its vested interests. We don't get any sense of intellectual or moral engagement; which is a problem in a crowded globe that requires respect and cooperation from others; particularly when 70% of global oil supplies comes from the region.

It is interesting that Harawira draws upon Maori culture, which I have little knowledge of, but which I would expect would be collectivist in nature. He said the al-Qaeda founder should be "honoured" rather than "damned" in death based on Maori values. It was Maori custom to acknowledge the dead. Other Maori politicians had a different perspective. These representatives clearly embody a higher degree of Western influence; leaving Harawira sitting out in the wilderness as a Maori nationalist.
Harawira said bin Laden had "pursued independence for his people, his family and his tribe". Unfortunately, his independent entailed destroying the lives of others. He needed to make an intellectual argument; but instead he resorted to violence.
He indicated it was Maori custom... "tributes to the dead are always appropriate"...that "it was custom for Maori to "honour and mourn the deceased".
This of course suggests unsurprisingly that Maori culture is based on moral relativism.
If there is any value in Harawira's statement it is in the acknowledgement that Bin Laden did embody some hope for Arabs in the Middle East, and he did change the nature of US engagement with the region.
The notion however that he advanced or "fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people" is a nonsense, because he showed no respect for rights...merely his countries interests at the expense of others. Sadly, the US did not help matters. They might well argue that its not in their narrowly defined interests to educate Arabs. They paid the price for their 'narrow' defined philosophy of pragmatism.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said 'utu' (revenge) was a Maori custom. "But we don't agree with the extent of the celebrations or with anyone celebrating the assassination of anyone and then the person's body being discarded into the sea."

Labour MP Shane Jones repudiates Harawira's view, arguing that: "In the old days, a great enemy - if he wasn't eaten - his bones were used to make musical instruments. So this romantic notion that in the old time, Maori spent hours of their time saluting the enemy was not the case".
This need not however be a repudiation, since Maori culture might differentiate the spirit from the body, and find some spiritual virtue in eating them.
His other argument however does repudiate his assertion; although, does all Maori beliefs have to be the same given the different tribes spread around the country. Jones argued "Enemies were turned to dust and people rejoiced, because of the suffering they had caused".

Source of quotes - "Bin Laden a freedom fighter - Harawira", NZ Herald, May 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NZ - government policy detached from reality

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The suggestion by this consultancy International Funds Services Development Group that NZ could emerge as a future financial hub is ludicrous. There is no justification for duplication services in NZ which are offered in Australia - a market with 5-6x the size, a better climate, better pay, and a broader commodity focus. It is nonsensical. Just as importantly, there is little little investment capital or investment in NZ. It is a very small market at the 'arse-end' of the world.
Anyone investing in NZ will be doing so for only one of five reasons:
1. Domestic ties - the type of business that will always need to be local, i.e. cafes, restaurants
2. Raw material production & processing - natural resources with or without processing if competitive. i.e. Some materials are too low value or bulky without processing, i.e. iron ore, or high value commodities where transport is a low cost penalty.
3. Low cost competitiveness - The best example is consulting services or call centres. NZ has a technology and price advantage, i.e. NZ is the lowest cost OECD country in the world, so you'd have to wonder why they are not building call centres for higher value servicing than can be performed by Filipinos. It could service foreign markets when they would have to pay overtime or late night salary rates.
4. Lifestyle industries like tourism, etc.
5. High value manufacturing and servicing like niche hospital equipment designs, taxi despatching systems, GPS software. For example, consider the following example of seismic monitoring systems.

These industries are hard to create unless you know something about the world. I would encourage NZ'ers to get out in the real world, the active, industrialised countries and learn what these countries are doing. It is not enough to read newspapers and online, you need to live in these places.

NZ Property Guide Philippine Real Estate Guide Japan Foreclosed Guide

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Japan Foreclosed Property 2015-2016 - Buy this 5th edition report!

Over the years, this ebook has been enhanced with additional research to offer a comprehensive appraisal of the Japanese foreclosed property market, as well as offering economic and industry analysis. The author travels to Japan regularly to keep abreast of the local market conditions, and has purchased several foreclosed properties, as well as bidding on others. Japan is one of the few markets offering high-yielding property investment opportunities. Contrary to the 'rural depopulation' scepticism, the urban centres are growing, and they have always been a magnet for expatriates in Asia. Japan is a place where expats, investors (big or small) can make highly profitable real estate investments. Japan is a large market, with a plethora of cheap properties up for tender by the courts. Few other Western nations offer such cheap property so close to major infrastructure. Japan is unique in this respect, and it offers such a different life experience, which also makes it special. There is a plethora of property is depopulating rural areas, however there are fortnightly tenders offering plenty of property in Japan's cities as well. I bought a dormitory 1hr from Tokyo for just $US30,000.
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