Blog

Failed share houses start to hit foreclosure market

One of the early foreclosures of failed share houses developed as part of a wide-scale scam goes up for public auction next week. The minimum bid for the building and land is set at 23,672,000 Yen (approx. 205,000 USD), with results to be announced on October 25. Back in January, several share houses by a former Ginza-based share house developer were listed for public foreclosure auction, selling for around a third to less than a half of what the original investors would have paid for them.

Japan’s apartment price to income ratio increases again

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average price of a brand-new apartment across Japan was 7.81 times the average annual income in 2017, up 0.34 points from 2016 and exceeding the previous high of 7.64 seen in 1992. A total of 28 prefectures saw affordability of brand-new apartments worsen in 2017, up from 22 prefectures in 2016. In Kanazawa City, the supply of high-priced new condominiums pulled up the average for Ishikawa Prefecture to a multiple of 8.37, up 3.52 points from 2016.

What our job involves when working with foreign clients

When working with expat or non-resident clients on real estate deals in Japan, the process can easily take 3 times as much time and effort when compared to a domestic Japanese client. There are only small number of real estate agencies in Japan that are truly well versed in working with foreign clients. For the majority of domestic-oriented agencies, foreign clients are often seen as being too challenging and involving too much hassle. We often encounter local listing agents that have no experience with transactions involving a foreign buyer, so it is our job to assure them that the transaction can go as smoothly as it would be with a local Japanese buyer.

Nagano’s ski resort divide

While Nagano’s urban areas are seeing a slowing in the rate of decline in land prices, one district in the prefecture is seeing no end to eroding land values.

The Hirao district in Yamanouchi Town, known for being home to the Jigokudani Monkey Park and several ski areas, is also home to the steepest drop in both commercial and residential land values in the prefecture.  According to the Standard Land Prices issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the rate of decline at several survey locations in Hirao worsened in 2018. Land values dropped by between 2 ~ 4% in 2018. In some locations land prices have declined year-on-year since the late 1990s. 

Two minpaku companies in Kyoto busted for illegal short-term letting

This month, two companies that both specialize in operating short-term Airbnb-style letting, have been issued cease-and-desist orders from Kyoto City for providing accommodation without the required licenses or permissions. These are the first crackdowns in Japan since the new short-term accommodation law was introduced on June 15, 2018. Hosts found operating illegally now face fines of up to 1 million Yen (approx. 8,900 USD).

Behind the real estate investment scams that have Japan’s regional banks concerned

The following is a summary of the recent information that has come out since the share house and whole-building investment scam scandal has been exposed in Japan.

Inflated rental projections

Guaranteed or estimated market rents were set much higher than actual market rents in order to inflate yields and sale prices. Share houses were perfect for this since it can be difficult to gauge appropriate market rent, making it easy to inflate figures. Share houses operated by one defunct operator were running at occupancy ratios of just 20%.