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Average Cost of a House in Otaru, Hokkaido

How much does it cost to buy a house in in Otaru?

Working as real estate consultants here in Hokkaido, we get a lot of requests for property in Otaru. And while there are Otaru apartments for rent, the typical request we hear for the area is to buy a house in Otaru. We have introduced several clients to local Otaru real estate agents.

In this post, we will lay out some recent detail about the average price for a house in Otaru, how that compares to condominiums in Otaru, some comparisons to real estate in Sapporo, and some detail on the decision to rent vs buy property in the Otaru area.

When you’re ready to talk to a local Otaru agent that can advise you and help you see property in person, contact us for a personalized introduction to a local agent.

Average Price of a House in Otaru

Based on our in-house research and various government data, the average price for a “detached home” in Otaru is ¥14,100,000 (or approximately $105,000 USD, as of 2023). That is a relatively low cost to own a home in any developed country, and that low cost is appealing to buyers.

For foreigners looking to buy real estate in Hokkaido, getting a loan to buy a property in Otaru is difficult in most cases (but in some cases, can be possible). However, with the low total cost, all-cash purchases for property in Otaru might be easier than the same strategy in higher-priced areas like Sapporo or for property in Niseko.

Average price for a Condominium in Otaru

It may be surprising to discover that the average price for condo in Otaru is higher than for a detached home.

The average price for a condominium in Otaru is ¥17,090,000 (closer to $127,000 USD, as of 2023) – that is about 20% higher than the average cost of a house in Otaru.

Because of the smaller population in Otaru, there aren’t as many annual sales to show to help break down what “average” means (in terms of the size of the unit, proximity to the station, etc,) but you might guess that the higher price for condos is probably because the units are in fact closer to the station, and likely newer, and more modern, than the average house in Otaru.

Otaru Housing Costs vs a House in Sapporo

When we wrote our article on the cost of a house in Sapporo, we show that the average cost of a house in Sapporo is ¥25,043,995 (or ~$186,000 USD as of early 2023). Comparing Sapporo and Otaru home prices shows that Sapporo houses are something like 70-80% more expensive that Otaru.

On a cost basis, you can certainly get into a home easier in Otaru than in Sapporo, on the same budget. There are pluses and minuses to living on the coast in Otaru (ocean breezes in the summer, but somewhat severe exposure to the sea in winter) vs closer to downtown Sapporo (which has much more in terms of amenities, better transportation, the Sapporo International school, etc), but the lower cost helps make Otaru an attractive option.

Buying a House in Otaru vs Renting an Apartment

Besides buying a house, there are certainly opportunities to rent an apartment in Otaru. We address the average cost of an apartment in Otaru in a separate post, but for a rough estimate, the average cost for an Otaru apartment is approximately ¥53,000 (or $395 USD, as of 2023).

Interestingly, the average cost of renting an apartment in Sapporo is about the same, at ¥51,980. Why is that? Because Sapporo is a much bigger city, and has a larger supply of housing in general, and certainly more apartments.

So buying an house in Otaru may be a better bargain, but renting an apartment in Otaru likely won’t save you much in monthly expenses.

In addition to renting an apartment, it is also possible to rent a house in Otaru, and costs would be similar, based, of course, on the quality and location of the rental houses in Otaru.

What is “Average?”

Here we will quickly offer a disclaimer that your needs and choices can have a big impact on what you might pay for a Otaru home for sale or to rent a local apartment. As usual, the proximity to the train station, the size of the unit, the year it was constructed, the choices of materials, the access to roads that offer snow removal (vs those that do not), can make a big different in what you might pay.

Hokkaido Shinkansen and Otaru

Looking out in the future somewhat, the shinkansen is coming to Hokkaido, and will run through Otaru. While there is already very good train service (via the JR line) that connects both Sapporo and Niseko to Otaru, the shinkansen will make that faster and much more robust.

The route of the shinkansen will run north from Hakodate (where there is already shinkansen service to the main island of Japan), up through Niseko, then west to Otaru, and then continue on to Sapporo.

The arrival of the shinkansen to Otaru is some years off, and who knows what that increased access will do to the population of Otaru and the value of local real estate.

Otaru is a Small City

While Otaru has a rich history as a port city in Hokkaido (with some of the best examples of Western architecture in the province), it is a small city, with a declining population. In a separate post, we document some trends for Otaru’s population by year, and we show that by the most recent data, that population continued to get smaller in data as recent as 2022.

With the shinkansen coming in a few years, that could possibly change, but for now the depopulation trend is one factor that influences Otaru real estate value.

Real Estate Agents in Otaru

We make person-to-person introductions to prescreened real estate agents in Otaru.

Working with a local Otaru real estate agent, you can get recommendations about where to live, specific details about pricing and resale trends, and make in-person visits to see available Otaru houses for sale. Contact us and we will find you an available agent to help you learn more.

Our service is free to you.

We work for you, not the real estate companies.

We provide person-to-person introductions to prescreened agents that help you sell, buy, lease, or rent property in Hokkaido. We search our custom database to connect you to real estate professionals that speak your language, address your needs and are available now to help you find what you want.

Local. Trusted. 100% free to you.

To Get Started

  1. Contact Us or Call NOW:


  • (+81) 50 5806-5302
  • (+1) 833-893-0711

For More Information:

— Average Cost to Rent an Apartment in Otaru
— Details about Otaru Population by Year
Local Sapporo Real Estate Agents
— Some details on Move-In Costs for a Sapporo Apartment
— Our List of Sapporo Neighborhoods (Sapporo Wards)
International Schools in Sapporo
— Find Lawyers in Hokkaido
Tax Offices in Sapporo
— Our Taxes in Japan page
Buying Property in Hokkaido as a Foreigner

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