In an aging society that is seeing falling occupancy rates in the property market, unused real estate is becoming an increasingly serious problem. However, this has led to a creation of a new market for share house developers. According to an investigation by a major real estate company, the number of sharehouses has risen 26-fold in the past 8 years, with Tokyo being the most popular location.
In a typical share house, tenants have their own private rooms while the kitchen, living and bathroom areas are shared. Unlike a typical Japanese guest house which is designed for travelers staying for a short period, share houses cater to long-term tenants.
While it may be common in many countries for the younger generation to rent an apartment or house with several friends, share houses in Japan are only a recent phenomenon.