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Houses in Japan will come with a history

All-in-one background reports to grease property market's wheels

The new ID codes will make it easier to gather information on existing homes. (Photo by Wakako Iguchi).

TOKYO -- Japan will attempt to give the existing-home market a shot in the arm by enabling one-stop shopping for background data on individual properties, such as past sale prices and renovation histories, eliminating much of the time and legwork now needed to gather such information.

The land ministry envisions each residential property receiving its own identification code to track its history and improve transparency in the real estate market.

Background reports will bring together information that would otherwise take an elaborate effort to collect -- looking up transactions in public records and asking questions of previous owners, for example.

The initiative is expected to shore up existing-home sales and improve market statistics by locality and other criteria.

The codes will be assigned to properties registered with the government-backed Real Estate Information Network System.

In fiscal 2019, the ministry plans to set up an expert panel and run trials.

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