New apartment prices across greater Tokyo hit highest price since 1990

According to a report issued by the Real Estate Economic Institute on April 16, the average price of a brand new apartment across greater Tokyo was 59,210,000 Yen in fiscal 2017, an increase of 6.9% from 2016 and the highest level seen since 1990 when the average price peaked at 62,140,000 Yen. High labor and construction costs along with rising land prices have been a major contributor to the high sale prices of apartments in and around the capital.

A total of 36,837 brand new apartments were released for sale, a 1.1% increase from 2016 and the first increase seen in four years. This is still far short of the peak supply of 95,479 apartments seen in 2000. The average price per square meter was 864,000 Yen, up 7.9% from 2016.

Bidding restarted for Sengaku-ji Station high-rise apartment tower

A 160m tall apartment tower is planned for a site located above Sengaku-ji Station in Minato-ku, Tokyo. The project covers a 13,000 sqm site located on the eastern side of the Daiichi-Keihin Road, with the Yamanote train tracks running along the western side. This is reclaimed land that was once part of Tokyo Bay.

In February it was announced that a joint venture between Kajima Corporation, Tokyu Land and Keikyu Corporation had successfully bid on the development. On April 4, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that their bid was disqualified after charges were filed against an executive from Kajima Corporation for allegedly colluding on a bid for the new high-speed maglev train. 

48-yr old Tokiwamatsu House condo being redeveloped

Tokiwamatsu House, a vintage condominium located a 10 minute walk south of Omotesando Station, is being redeveloped into a new apartment building. Demolition of the existing building is expected to be finished by late August.

The former block of apartments was developed by Sumitomo and built in 1970. It included 62 apartments on 8 floors with sizes ranging from 37 ~ 122 sqm (398 ~ 1,313 sq.ft). The most recent reported sale was a large apartment on a low floor that sold early last year for around 770,000 Yen/sqm, which is less than half of what a similarly-sized brand new apartment would cost in this neighbourhood.

Tokyo apartment sale prices increase for 66th month

According to REINS, 3,819 second-hand apartments were reported to have sold across greater Tokyo in March, up 11.5% from the previous month and up 2.7% from last year. The average sale price was 33,690,000 Yen, up 0.5% from the previous month and up 7.1% from last year. The average price per square meter was 521,100 Yen, up 1.8% from the previous month and up 5.7% from last year. This is the 63rd month in a row to see a year-on-year increase in sale prices.

Chuo-ku to remove floor area ratio allowances to curb population growth

Tokyo’s Chuo ward is planning to abolish the floor area ratio (FAR) allowances in an attempt to curb the district’s rapid population growth. Up until now, a FAR allowance of as much as 20 ~ 40% could be given to residential developments in certain zones. For example, if a developer chose to build a new apartment building in Tsukiji or Kyobashi, the normal FAR for the land might be increased from its current limit of 500% to 700%, allowing a much larger building. 

30% of old buildings in Tokyo at risk of collapse in strong earthquake

The New Shimbashi Building (c1971) poses a high risk of collapse in a major earthquake. There are plans to eventually redevelop this building into a high-rise although negotiations with land-owners are taking longer than anticipated.

On March 29, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government released data from earthquake resistance inspections on public buildings built to the old ‘kyu-taishin’ earthquake codes (pre-May 1981). A total of 251 kyu-taishin buildings, representing a third of the total, were determined pose some risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake producing a seismic intensity scale (shindo) of a 6-upper or above. Of those, 156 were found to be at high risk of collapse.

The publication of this data is the result of a revision to the Act for Promotion of Renovation for Earthquake-Resistant Buildings that was introduced in November 2013. Under this revision, public buildings used by an unspecified number of people, such as hotels and commercial facilities, with a floor area over 10,000 sqm and built to the old kyu-taishin earthquake codes are obligated to carry out earthquake resistance inspections, the results of which are made public. This also applies to old buildings located alongside emergency roads. Although the revision requires building owners to carry out inspections, there are no obligations or requirements to conduct the retrofitting.

Central Tokyo’s 3 wards to see 30%+ population growth by 2045

According to estimates by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the population of central Tokyo’s three wards (Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato) is expected to increase by over 30% by 2045 as more and more people move to the city center. In contrast, the Tama district, which is the very western side of Tokyo and includes Hachioji, Tachikawa, and Mitaka, is expected to see a double-digit percentage drop in resident population. By 2045, Tokyo will be the only district out of Japan’s 47 prefectures to have seen an increase in population.

Tokyo’s latest flood map puts a third of city in risk zone

Flooding at Hirai Station, Edogawa-ku, following Typhoon Kitty in 1949.

On March 30, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government issued a new flood map based on a super typhoon hitting the nation’s capital. Approximately a third of Tokyo’s 23 wards, representing 212 square kilometers, could be at risk of being flooded by a storm surge. Almost all of the flood risk zones are located in the eastern part of Tokyo which is a low-lying district. Central Tokyo, with the exception of some of the waterfront districts, and the western side of Tokyo is on elevated ground and outside of the risk area.

If levees are breached, some areas in eastern Tokyo could see flood waters with a depth of over 50cm covering an area up 84 square kilometers for a week or longer. The maximum flood depth could exceed 10 meters in some zones. Sumida and Koto wards could see an average flood depth of around 7 meters.

The 1 in 1,000 ~ 5,000 year worst-case flooding scenario is based on the scale of the 1934 Muroto Typhoon that made landfall in Muroto, Awaji Island and Kobe. It caused tremendous damage in Osaka. Over 3,000 people lost their lives and 200,000 were left homeless. The typhoon brought a tide of 3 ~ 4 meters which inundated 49 square kilometers of Osaka City. The simulation is also based on the speed of Typhoon Vera, or the Isewan Typhoon, which struck the Tokai region in 1959.

Apartment prices take a dip in Tokyo Bayside island district

According to data compiled by Tokyo Kantei, the average asking prices of second-hand apartments in several districts on the manmade islands in Tokyo Bay have declined over the past two years. This is despite the hype from the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will see several facilities and the Athletes Village constructed on these islands. The report covered family-type apartments listed for sale between June and August 2017, comparing them to average asking prices in 2015 and 2016.

Kokusai-tenjijo Station Area:

Serviced by the Rinkai Line, this station is about 450 meters from the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition hall and opposite the Ariake Tennis Courts and Ariake Colosseum. A 1500-unit large-scale apartment complex is currently under construction not far from this station with completion scheduled in early 2020. Apartments in this new project have an average price of around 1,000,000 Yen/sqm. Meanwhile, the average asking price of a second-hand apartment in this district was 679,000 Yen/sqm, down 5.9% from 2016 and down 8.9% from 2015.