The September 2018 Hokkaido Iburi Earthquake resulted in severe liquefaction in part of Sapporo’s Kiyota Ward, leaving roads caved in and homes leaning at dangerous angles.As at October 3, as many as 1,452 homes had suffered damage in Kiyota Ward. This wasn’t the first instance for the neighborhood with liquefaction observed during the 2003 Hokkaido Earthquake which had an epicenter 300 kilometers away. The liquefaction hazard map issued by the city had previously designated this area as being of high risk for liquefaction damage.
For the first time in five years, more than half of the newly completed condominiums in Sapporo City remain unsold. Although sales were strong in 2013, buyers are becoming increasingly priced out of the new apartment market due to rising prices. These prices have been underpinned by higher construction costs, including raw materials and labour, which means that developers are either unable or reluctant to reduce the end prices offered to consumers.
Over 90% of Hokkaido’s new condominiums are located in Sapporo. In 2015, 51% of units in condominiums that had already been completed remained unsold by developers.
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.