As land values in Niseko skyrocket, investors have been shifting their attention to more affordable ski locations around Hokkaido. One of those destinations is Furano which is seeing an influx in foreign investment and foreign tourists. Located 110 kilometers north-east of Sapporo, or a 2-hour drive, the city is becoming increasingly known for its high-quality powder snow.
In 2018, foreign funds purchased 373 hectares of forestry across Japan. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), there were 30 acquisitions made across seven prefectures.
The average price of a brand new apartment in Sapporo, Hokkaido, reached 32,082,000 Yen in 2013 – a level not seen since Japan’s bubble economy in the late 1980s. The rising prices have been brought on by the increasing cost of construction, an increase in the consumption tax rate which caused some last minute buying and an expansion in the tax reductions on home loans.
Industry insiders are expecting prices to continue to grow, but some are worried that the market could cool down if prices become unaffordable.
Development in parts of Niseko’s ski fields is being stalled due to inconsistencies between national and prefectural government building approvals.
In recent years, a number of hotels in Niseko have been purchased by foreign funds, closed down and in many cases demolished. The foreign developers acquired the hotels with the aim of building condominium-type hotels and resort apartments which would then be sold to wealthy foreigners.
However, a number of these sites have been sitting vacant without any signs of construction.
Why the hold up?
A leading Chinese television production and distribution company recently announced that they will be developing a luxury resort condominium in Otaru, Hokkaido. The project will be marketed to wealthy Chinese.
HaiRun Movies & TV plan to build a 9-storey building containing 22 condominium apartments, a restaurant, pool, sauna, and party room. Each apartment will have its own private open air bath (rotenburo).
The Hokkaido prefectural government are looking for a buyer for the historic Archives of Hokkaido Annex Building in Sapporo City.
Built in 1926, the Taisho era building was designed by architect Atsumasa Hagiawara and built in the Vienna Secession style of architecture which was popular at the time. It is located to the south of the main Archives building, which was built in 1888 and used as the Hokkaido Government Office.
Thai property developer Property Perfect has invested 770 million baht (approximately 1.9 billion Yen, or 24 million USD) in the takeover of the relatively unknown Kiroro Ski Resort, 43km west of Sapporo, from Mitsui Real Estate.
“Melon Castle”, a liquor distilling facility in Yubari City, Sapporo, will be sold to a wholesale/retail company called Base Create. The facilities will be used to package and store goods.
Yubari City had previously agreed to sell the facilities to another buyer, but the sale was canceled in March as the buyer did not make payment. In April, the property was advertised for sale at a reduced starting price of 28,800,000 Yen (360,000 USD). Base Create was the only applicant, and based on their financials and business plan, their offer of 28,900,000 Yen was accepted. The new buyer plans to hire several local residents to help run the facilities.
- Luxury apartment and hotel boom
- Turning into a world-renowned resort area
Hokkaido’s Niseko and Kutchan area is seeing a rush of luxury apartment and hotel developments. Known for its perfect skiing conditions, many Australians had purchased ski chalets and vacation homes in the town. The recent development boom, however, has been spurred on by Asia’s wealthy investors and developers.
Planning of the Sweden Hills neighborhood began in 1979 and construction started in 1984. The idea began after the Swedish Ambassador visited Tobetsu Town and remarked how similar the atmosphere and scenery was to his native Sweden. Tobetsu Town’s sister city is Leksand in Dalarna County, Sweden.