Karuizawa’s vacation home market on the rebound


The upscale summer resort area of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture is seeing its property market rebound as a growing number of older residents from greater Tokyo are move in. In 2015 the extension of the bullet train line will connect Karuizawa with the Hokuriku region, making the area an even more convenient destination.

While the rest of the prefecture is still dealing with sluggish land values, the increase in demand for vacation homes in Karuizawa has started to push land prices upwards.

The town approved 338 holiday homes in 2013, up 9% from the year before.

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Karuizawa population reaches record high

The population in Karuizawa has exceeded 20,000 residents for the first time since it received a town status in 1923.

From the 1980s to 1990s, the town’s population hovered at around 15,000 residents, but began to grow again after the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen station shortened the trip to Tokyo to about 70 minutes. The town is estimating that the local population will reach 21,000 by 2022. The population in 1923 was 5,012 residents.

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Is this really Bill Gates’ mega-mansion in Karuizawa?

Over the past year rumours have been circulating that Bill Gates is building a large vacation home in Karuizawa’s Sengataki neighbourhood.

An aerial photo of the construction site shows a large building spanning four levels. Reporters who tried to get photos from the driveway were shooed away by security guards, but neighbours said that the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft was the owner.

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