A new Freakonomics Radio Podcast tries to answer the question of ‘Why are Japanese homes disposable?

In most countries, houses become more valuable over time, however in Japan, it would seem a new buyers will often bulldoze the home.

Penn State University Professor Jiro Yoshida, who specialises in real estate economics, talks about how there are nearly four times as many architects in Japan than the US, per capita, and twice as many construction workers.

Half of all homes in Japan are demolished within 38 years. Around 60 per cent of all homes were built after 1980, as there is virtually no market for pre-owned homes in Japan.

Yoshida explains that while land holds value, the physical home is worthless within 30 years.

British-American architect Alastair Townsend also weighs in.

“The houses that are built today exceed the quality of just about any other country in the world, at least for timber buildings. So there’s really no reason that they should drop in value and be demolished.”

Listen to the full podcast below.