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Sony and Yahoo Japan are set to launch an online market for previously occupied residences later this year, letting homeowners and prospective buyers negotiate prices over the Internet.

The service, to be operated by Yahoo, initially will cover apartment properties in Tokyo’s 23 wards.

In the tie-up, Sony Real Estate will receive additional funding from Sony and will allocate ¥2 billion ($16.2 million) in new shares to Yahoo—a 40 percent stake.

Sellers will determine asking prices and will negotiate with buyers without using intermediaries. Sony Real Estate will support technical work, letting individuals deal comfortably with real estate transactions.

The two companies will receive a commission when transactions are completed. Their cut is likely to be smaller than the legal limit—3 percent of transaction price plus ¥60,000 excluding tax.

Traditionally, data on existing homes in Japan has been shared almost exclusively among real estate agents, and consumers have been unable to look directly for such properties.

It is hoped that the digital market will broaden their search options.

The move comes as the government has set 2020 as the year by which it hopes to double the size of the market for previously occupied homes, including their renovation, to ¥20 trillion.

These secondhand homes account for only a little over 10 percent of real estate transactions in Japan, compared with 80–90 percent in European countries and the United States.

Direct transactions between private buyers and sellers are thought to account for 20 percent of existing-home deals in the United States.

Sellers will determine asking prices and will negotiate with buyers without using intermediaries.