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.

Historic Daimaru Shinsaibashi Store Facade to be Preserved

Daimaru Shinsaibashi Osaka

Last year, J. Front Retailing announced plans to redevelop the historic 82-year old Daimaru Shinsaibashi Department Store in Osaka. The ageing building was becoming increasingly cost and difficult to maintain, and was short on floor space.

Original redevelopment plans involved razing the building. After J. Front’s announcement, local architects and historians lobbied the company to preserve as much of the intricately-designed building as possible. Although redevelopment is going ahead next year, J. Front are now considering preserving the historic facade.

Rosenka land values up in urban areas, but down nationwide

According to the National Tax Agency, rosenka land values across Japan in 2015 fell for the 7th year in a row, although the decline appears to be bottoming out. This year nationwide land values dropped by 0.4%, which is an improvement from 2014 which saw values drop by 0.7%. In Tokyo, rosenka values increased by 2.1%, after seeing a 1.8% rise in 2014. In Osaka, values increased by 0.5%.

A rapid increase in foreign tourists and a boost in investment in central Tokyo from foreign funds has helped to pull up property values and retail rents.

Midosuji Boulevard in front of Osaka’s Hankyu Department Store saw rosenka land values rise by 10.1% from last year to 8,320,000 Yen/sqm, while Meieki Dori Avenue in front of Nagoya Station saw values increase by 11.5% to 7,360,000 Yen/sqm.

May 2015 rental data – Tokyo Kantei

Apartment Rent Japan May 2015

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium in greater Tokyo was 2,656 Yen/sqm in May, up 2.1% from the previous month and up 1.3% from last year. The average apartment size was 59.08 sqm and the average building age was 18.7 years.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the average rent was 3,104 Yen/sqm, down 0.5% from the previous month but up 0.9% from last year. The average apartment size was 56.64 sqm and the average building age was 17.3 years.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, the average rent was 3,229 Yen/sqm, down 0.3% from the previous month but up 1.0% from last year.

In Chiba City, the average rent has been in a downwards trend since the start of the year. The average rent in May was 1,439 Yen/sqm, down 0.3% from the previous month and down 9.6% from last year.

SMBC restores 89-yr old office building in Osaka

Sumitomo Building Osaka 3

On May 19, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) completed the restoration of the 89-year old building that houses their Osaka head office.

The Sumitomo Building was built in 1926 as the headquarters of Sumitomo Bank. The 6-storey building was constructed by Obayashi Corporation and had a total floor area of 36,000 sqm. It was designed by architects Yutaka Hidaka, Eikichi Hasebe and Kenzo Takekoshi of Sumitomo’s construction division. Construction took five years. During construction, the greater Tokyo area was struck by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. As a cautionary measure, the building’s proposed floor count was reduced by one storey. A spanish-style private courtyard was built on the top storey.

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