Comment by The real expert:
Why would I invest in something that has no capital appreciation? Instead of property investing with an unrealistic target of a 12% yield (never heard of a 5 million unit in north Tokyo), why wouldn't I put that cash into a fixed 8% term deposit? No risk and a guaranteed 8% return on investment, no maintenance headaches, no government red tape headaches, no flood headaches, no housing bubble headaches etc etc. Investing in the Tokyo real estate market would have to be the worst investment decision ever. If you buy a house in Western countries you will get appreciation on your investment, i.e the value of your house will go up unlike Japan where prices go down. Erik your article is total rubish and people should never buy houses in Japan for investment purposes.
The reason is because capital appreciate is just one issue - rent expense substitution or rental yield, depending on your perspective is the other issue. There is typically an inverse relationship between the two, i.e High capital appreciation or high yield. That is why Japanese yields are high. If you can find some structural distortion being corrected then you can get both, i.e. Say the Philippines today because it has 8% yield and good capital appreciation. i.e. There is the realisation that Asian labour is rising in cost, so even low-productivity Filipinos start looking appealing as a source of labour; most particularly because they make satisfactory call centre agents. This market does not rely upon the low-productivity ports in the Philippines. These issues will gradually be resolved, and the Philippines will be more broadly an appealing property market.
Japan only makes sense if you are buying a rural lifestyle property, an inner city land rental purchase of house, or suburban house for rent substitution; and even this might only make sense if you are earning Japanese income and planning to live there over 4 years. Since people love Japan, and 'hope' to live there, this can make a lot of sense.
The other issue is inflation and currency depreciation, which I have alluded to above. Bonds paying 8% in Japan? Unlikely - more likely 1% and paid is debased Japanese yen. The USD is also being debased, so need an bond indexed to inflation.