Japan Mitsubishi Estate Residence Plans to Build 10,000 Housing Units for Digital Nomads

February 20, 2024

Photo from Freepik

Tokyo Mitsubishi Estate Residence plans to offer 10,000 housing units designed specifically for digital nomads planning short-term stays in Japan, aiming to attract high-income talents from around the world.

Tokyo Mitsubishi Estate Residence plans to operate 10,000 rental housing units by 2030 for foreigners intending to stay in Japan for one month to one year, targeting so-called digital nomads.

The real estate company recently entered into a licensing agreement with Blueground Holdings, based in the United States, specializing in such accommodations. Blueground operates 15,000 rental housing units in 32 cities worldwide, catering to foreigners and others through subleasing arrangements. This marks the first time such a service will be available in Japan.

In Japan, the service will be operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Residence. Rental properties primarily located in the Tokyo metropolitan area will be subleased and furnished with beds and furniture for foreigners. These properties will be available for booking in English through the Blueground reservation system online. The company's app also provides lifestyle advice for residents in the area.

Initially, properties will be offered in Tokyo's central areas familiar to foreigners, such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. Rental prices are expected to range mainly from ¥300,000 to ¥500,000 per month (approximately US$2,100 to US$3,500).

Mitsubishi Estate Residence began operating rental apartment businesses through another subsidiary in 2019, mainly targeting young foreigners, currently managing approximately 700 units. The collaboration with Blueground will attract a wider age group, aiming to increase the total number of rental units for foreigners to 10,000 by 2030. The company plans to develop this into a business with sales of ¥20 billion and operating profit of ¥3 billion.

Mitsubishi Estate Residence anticipates demand not only from foreign executives and employees staying in Japan but also from digital nomads. Digital nomads refer to individuals who work using information technology and can change their place of residence regardless of location, typically switching residences every few months. They range from freelancers to corporate employees.

According to data from the travel information website A Brother Abroad, there are an estimated 35 million digital nomads globally. Some believe this number could reach 1 billion by 2035.

Many digital nomads have high incomes, making international competition for them fierce. For example, Estonia and Taiwan have introduced special visas designed for them. The Japanese government has expressed its intention to improve the environment to attract such visitors, including establishing new special visas and residency statuses.

In its 2018 investment strategy document, the government set out activities to welcome and support businesspeople, professionals, digital nomads, and other high-skilled workers. According to data from the Ministry of Justice, the number of such workers staying in Japan has tripled over the past decade, with approximately 400,000 as of the end of June.


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