Average rents up in Tokyo, down everywhere else

Japan apartment rent Aug 2015

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium in greater Tokyo was 2,590 Yen/sqm in August, showing no change from the previous month but up 1.1% from last year. The average apartment size was 60.61 sqm and the average building age was 19.5 years.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the average rent was 3,177 Yen/sqm, up 1.0% from the previous month and up 4.5% from last year. The average apartment size was 57.68 sqm and the average building age was 17.5 years.

Average rents in Kanagawa, Saitama, greater Osaka, Hyogo and Aichi were down from last year.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, the average rent was 3,314 Yen/sqm, up 1.0% from the previous month and up 4.7% from last year. The average apartment size was 57.13 sqm and the average building age was 17.0 years. Yokohama, Saitama City, Chiba City, Osaka City, Kobe City and Nagoya City all saw average rents fall from last year. Osaka City saw the biggest fall in rent with the average falling 5.5% from last year to 2,040 Yen/sqm.

New apartment supply in Tokyo up from last year

Brillia Towers Meguro

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, the average price of a brand new apartment released for sale in greater Tokyo in August was 58,720,000 Yen, down 1.4% from the previous month but up 3.3% from last year.

The average price per square meter was 824,000 Yen, down 3.1% from the previous month but up 6.3% from last year.

2,610 new apartments were released for sale, up 23.7% from last year, but down 45.5% from July. August is typically a slow month for the real estate industry due to the summer heat and holidays, so developers usually hold off on sales activities. 1,938 apartments were sold, making the contract rate 74.3%, up 4.7 points from last year.

Standard land prices increase in major cities in 2015

Omotesando Intersection
The Omotesando Intersection. Land prices at a survey point increased by 20.2% over the past 12 months.

Yesterday the MLIT released the standard land prices (kijun-chika) for Japan’s major cities and regional areas. Nationwide, land prices declined for the 24th year in a row, although the 0.9% decline in 2015 is down from the 1.2% drop seen in 2014.

Buoyed by growing foreign tourist numbers, redevelopment projects, an economic recovery and monetary easing, the three major cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, saw commercial land prices rise by 2.3% (up from a 1.7% increase in 2014). Residential land prices in these cities grew by an average of 0.4% (down slightly from the 0.5% increase in 2014).

69.9% of the surveyed commercial locations in the three cities saw an increase in prices (up from 68.0% of locations in 2014), while 44.7% of residential areas saw an increase (compared to a 46.9% share in 2014).

The redevelopment around Nagoya Station in anticipation of the new maglev train, scheduled to start services between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027, has led to a large increase in land prices. Some locations have increased by between 25 ~ 45%.

Commercial land prices in Omotesando up 20.2%

Retro buildings popular with retail tenants

Although many retailers prefer newer construction, there are some stores in Japan that specifically look for the older, character-filled properties to complement their brand. Sterile retail space is being eschewed for pre-war or 1960s vintage buildings and homes that can be converted and renovated into trendy, one-of-a-kind spaces.


Cafe Conana Jiyugaoka

Cafe Conana, Jiyugaoka

In April 2015, Cafe Conana opened a branch in Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku. The cafe is in an old terrace house that was completely renovated with exposed ceiling beams, and a light and bright interior. Dropped ceilings were removed to expose the skeleton of the house. Rafters were painted white, and natural wood has been used throughout.

Tokyo’s office market continues to strengthen

In August, the office vacancy rate in Tokyo’s five central business districts (Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku and Shibuya) was 4.72%, down 0.17 points from the previous month and down 1.30 points from last year. This is the lowest vacancy rate seen since December 2008. Shibuya had the lowest vacancy of 2.22%, down 0.05 points from July and down 1.79 points from last year.

With vacancy rates below the 5% level said to indicate a healthy balance between demand and supply, rents continue to increase. The average monthly office rent was 17,490 Yen per Tsubo (5,300 Yen/sqm), up 0.01% from the previous month and up 4.5% from last year. This is the 20th month in a row to see a month-on-month increase.

Apartment prices in Tokyo’s 23 wards exceed previous mini-bubble

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average asking price of a 70 sqm (753 sq.ft) apartment in greater Tokyo in July was 30,680,000 Yen, up 1.9% from the previous month and up 8.6% from last year. This is the 11th month in a row to see an increase, although the average is still 9.9% below the peak of 34,040,000 Yen seen in December 2007. The average building age was 22.2 years.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards the average asking price was 47,640,000 Yen, up 1.7% from the previous month and up 14.1% from last year. This is the first time that the price has exceeded the previous peak of 47,280,000 Yen seen in February 2008. This is also the 13th month in a row to see an increase in prices. The average building age was 22.2 years.

In central Tokyo’s six wards, the average price was 66,950,000 Yen, up 1.8% from the previous month and up 15.4% from last year.

In Yokohama City, the average price was 26,510,000 Yen, down 0.8% from the previous month but up 3.6% from last year. Prices in Yokohama are still 9.4% below their peak of 29,250,000 Yen seen in December 2007.

July 2015 rental data – Tokyo Kantei

Japan apartment rent July 2015

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium in greater Tokyo was 2,590 Yen/sqm in July, down 1.0% from the previous month but up 1.3% from last year. Transactions in the Tokyo metropolitan area represented a smaller share of the total, which resulted in a decline in the monthly average. This is the first time in six months that the average has dropped below 2,600 Yen/sqm.  The average apartment size was 59.75 sqm and the average building age was 19.4 years.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the average rent was 3,145 Yen/sqm, up 1.1% from the previous month and up 3.1% from last year. The average apartment size was 56.70 sqm and the average building age was 17.7 years.

Osaka may relax short-term rental rules for empty apartments

Osaka is considering introducing special regulations that would relax the rules on leasing apartments out on a short-term basis – a practice that is currently illegal without a hotel license.

In 2013 the Japanese government designated special zones in urban centres such as Tokyo and Osaka where regulations are to be eased, however it is up to the local governments to decide if they want to introduce these changes. If Osaka approves this plan, it will be the first place in Japan to do so.

Even with relaxed rules, operators of these short-term lodgings will need to be approved by local governments, rooms will need to meet minimum requirements such as being over 25 sqm in size, and will need clear instructions provided in several languages to assist guests. Operators will also be required to keep written records of all guests and keep copies of identification documents.

Apartment price to income ratios continue to worsen

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average price of a brand new apartment in Japan in 2014 was 7.17 times the average annual income (up 0.58 points from 2013), while a second-hand apartment (10 years old) was 4.92 times the average annual income (up 0.34 points). Incomes were down 1.4% nationwide, while new apartment prices were up 7.2% and secondhand apartment prices were up 6.1%.

The most affordable prefecture in Japan to buy a new apartment is Tochigi Prefecture, with a price-to-income ratio of 4.89 (down 0.53 points from 2013), and the most affordable place to buy a second-hand apartment is Kagawa Prefecture, with a ratio of 3.27 (up 0.33 points from 2013).

The most unaffordable prefecture in Japan for a new apartment is Kyoto, with a ratio of 10.98 (up 1.2 points). The second most unaffordable location for a new apartment was Ishikawa Prefecture, with a ratio of 10.97. The most unaffordable place for second-hand apartments is the Tokyo metropolitan area with a ratio of 7.61 (up 0.41 points). 

Secondhand apartment prices in June 2015 – Tokyo Kantei

Tokyo Kantei Apartment Prices June 2015

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average asking price of a 70 sqm (753 sq ft) apartment in greater Tokyo in June was 30,110,000 Yen, up 0.4% from the previous month and up 6.4% from last year. This is the first time since April 2011 that the price has exceeded 30 million Yen, and is the 10th month in a row to see a month-on-month increase. The average building age was 22.1 years.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, the average asking price was 46,840,000 Yen, up 1.7% from the previous month and up 12.5% from last year. The average building age was 22.2 years.

Meanwhile, Yokohama saw prices remain flat from the previous month, while Saitama City (-0.2%) and Chiba City (-2.1%) both saw prices fall from the previous month. In Chiba City, prices are down 3.0% from last year.

In central Tokyo’s six wards, the average price was 65,740,000 Yen, up 1.3% from the previous month and up 14.2% from last year. The average building age was 21.6 years.

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