Rent in Tokyo jumps 4.2% thanks to supply of new construction

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium in Tokyo’s 23 wards was 3,474 Yen/sqm in December 2017, up 4.2% from the previous month and up 3.6% from 2016. The increase was caused by a larger share of relatively new buildings which typically command higher rents, along with the release of a large number of brand new high-rise apartment towers in Shinjuku and Shinagawa.

Tokyo’s Ota Ward first in Japan to ban overnight accommodation in exclusive residential zones

Tokyo’s Ota Ward is the first district in Japan to ban all minpaku-style overnight or short-term accommodation in exclusively residential zones. On December 8, local councillors voted in favor of the ban with the rules to go into effect from June 15, 2018.

Ota was one of the first areas in Japan to actively promote and encourage short-term rentals. In January 2016 Ota ward allowed registered hosts of properties in approved ‘special zones’ to rent out accommodation for minimum stays of 6 nights without needing a hotel license. Normally a stay of less than 30 days would require a hotel license. Councillors have also voted in favor of reducing this stay to a minimum of 2 nights and 3 days.

16-fold rent increase for shopkeepers at Asakusa’s Sensoji temple

Shopkeepers alongside the Nakamise shopping street, a 250 meters long souvenir shop-lined pedestrian mall leading to Sensoji temple in Tokyo, are reeling after being hit with a potential 16-fold increase in store rents. In September, Sensoji temple informed the tenants of plans to increase the rent from the current level of 15,000 Yen per month for a 10 square meter shop to a new rent of 250,000 Yen per month, making it in line with market rents for the neighborhood and ending years of subsidized rents that had been offered by the previous landlord – the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Banks urged to take care when lending on investment properties

According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency’s Financing Report, the average vacancy rate for investment-grade apartment buildings is estimated to be around 7%. For ‘apaato’-type buildings less than 5 years old, the average vacancy rate was just 2.6%, but for a 10-year old building it was 7.1% and 11.6% for 20-year old buildings.

As buildings age, vacancy rates and maintenance costs increase, resulting in some investments becoming cash-flow negative for landlords. The Agency has requested that banks take more care to explain the potential risks and pitfalls of these type of investment loans to borrowers.

Apartment occupancy rates reach record high in Japan

The average occupancy rate of rental apartment buildings acquired by J-REITs has been steadily improving since 2010 and has exceeded levels last seen during the peak in 2008. In the second half of 2016 the average occupancy rate was 96%, a record high.

This is due both to an improving property market and REITS acquiring relatively new buildings in prime, central locations. While occupancy rates remain high in Tokyo, other cities across the country are seeing a reversal with a declining trend evident since 2013.

Trends in cities other than Tokyo:

  • Sapporo: Although occupancy levels are relatively high, they have been decreasing since late 2014.
  • Sendai: Occupancy rates reached record highs due to housing demand following the Tohoku disaster in 2011, but have been slowly falling. Sendai has seen the highest decline of all cities.
  • Yokohama: Occupancy has been falling since mid-2013, although there was an improvement in the second half of 2016.
  • Nagoya: Occupancy rates have been falling since 2013 and are sitting at a comparatively low level.
  • Osaka: Occupancy rates have been improving since late 2015 and are at a relatively high level.
  • Fukuoka: Occupancy rates have been steadily falling. The rate of decline has been influenced by a building with an occupancy rate of less than 80%.

*Central Tokyo 5 wards: Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku, Shibuya.

Source: Mizuho Real Estate Market Report, July 14, 2017.

Average apartment rent in June 2017

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium-type apartment across greater Tokyo in June 2017 was 2,619 Yen/sqm, down 0.5% from the previous month but up 0.5% from last year. The average apartment size was 59.62 sqm and the average building age was 20.4 years.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area the average monthly rent was 3,128 Yen/sqm, down 0.4% from the previous month and down 0.1% from last year. The average apartment size was 56.51 sqm and the average building age was 18.5 years.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards the average monthly rent was 3,292 Yen/sqm, down 0.2% from the previous month but up 0.1% from last year. The average apartment size was 55.78 sqm and the average building age was 17.8 years.

Both Yokohama and Saitama cities saw a large increase in average rents due to a larger share of transactions on newer apartments in more central locations, and a smaller share of transactions for older buildings that generally command lower rents.