Regional residential land prices increase for first time since 1992

Something that is on every local investor and real estate agent’s calendar is the announcement of the Chika-Koji assessed land prices by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). This year’s results came as no surprise to those in the industry, with average land prices increasing for the fourth year in a row. A 1.2% increase nationwide was reported in 2019, a 0.5 point increase from 2018.

Regional residential land prices increased for the first time in 27 years with 0.2% growth. Last year, regional commercial land prices increased for the first time in 26 years. 

Nationwide, residential land prices increased by 0.6%, the second year in a row to see an increase. Residential land prices have been supported by historically low interest rates, home loan tax deductions, and a growing trend to live in more centrally-located areas with good transport links. 

Commercial land prices nationwide saw a 2.8% increase. This is the fourth year in a row to see an increase. Commercial land values have benefited from the boom in foreign tourists in recent years, along with rising office rents. Japan’s three major cities recorded an average increase of 5.1% while regional zones saw 1% growth.  Kyoto’s Gion district saw a 43.6% increase in commercial land prices, ranking 4th nationwide. This was a large improvement from last year’s increase of 25.8%. 

The most expensive land in Japan is the site of the Yamano Music Building in Ginza, Tokyo. The land had an assessed value of 57,200,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 47,000 USD/sq.ft) in 2019, up 3.1% from 2018 and the sixth year in a row to record an increase. The rate of growth has slowed after seeing 18% growth in 2016 and 26% growth in 2017. This land was valued at 38,500,000 Yen/sqm at the peak of the bubble economy in 1991, before dropping to 14,800,000 Yen/sqm by 2002. 


Akasaka topped residential land values across Japan for the second year in a row with land prices at Akasaka 1-14-11 reaching 4,340,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 3,600 USD/sq.ft), an increase of 8.2% from last year. This survey site is home to the Homat Royal condominium and across the street from the Hotel Okura South Wing. The adjoining Hotel Okura main hotel is in the process of being redeveloped into a high-rise, with completion expected later this year. Earlier this year it was announced that the South Wing would also be redeveloped into a high-rise in the coming years, which is only going to put further upwards pressure on property prices in the vicinity. 

Akasaka is an area we strongly recommend to discerning investors and luxury home-buyers. Not only is it a historically wealthy district offering high-end residences in the heart of Tokyo, it is home to Tokyo Midtown, Ritz Carlton, Ark Hills, the US and Canadian embassies, Akasaka Biz Tower and its future adjoining redevelopment project, while also being adjacent to Roppongi and Toranomon. A 2014 survey showed it had the highest number of CEOs as residents in Tokyo.


In terms of percentage growth, the ski resort town of Niseko in Hokkaido was in top spot nationwide. Residential land prices increased by 50.0%, while commercial land prices increased by 58.8% in 2019. Niseko has seen a surge of real estate development in recent years, particularly in the high-end of the market with luxury hotels and condominiums popping up near the ski slopes. Sky Niseko, a full-service, ski-in ski-out condominium hotel opened last December. The four-bedroom penthouse was priced at 800 million Yen (approx. 7.17 million USD), or over 3 million Yen/sqm (approx. 2,500 USD/sq.ft) – a price comparable to the most high-end condominiums on offer in central Tokyo. 


The chika-koji assessed land values are provided for 25,255 survey sites across Japan and based on a survey date of January 1 each year. Data is released in March. Land values are based on land transactions and acquisitions of public utility sites and may differ from actual market values. They should be used to provide a guide to movements in land values, but should not be considered the true market price of real estate.

The Nikkei Shimbun, March 19, 2019.
NHK News Web, March 19, 2019.