When it was announced that Tokyo would host the 2020 Summer Olympics, owners of high-rise apartments in Tokyo’s bayside area (an area will host the Athletes Village and several sporting events) were naturally excited by the news. Apartment sales offices saw a dramatic increase in demand from buyers who feel certain that the Olympics is going to push up real estate values in the area.
In an article in the Nikkei Business publication, Eugene Oki from Attractors Lab suggests that recent price rises in the bayside islands may lack the substance to continue at current rates, and urges buyers to take a careful look at the factors behind market trends.
The Olympics will bring much needed infrastructure such as sports facilities and a bus lane to the bayside area of Ariake, Harumi and Kachidoki, but the Olympic games alone are not going to be a strong enough reason for the extension of a subway or train line. Retail and other facilities that improve the quality of life will also take some time to create. As such, it is difficult to say whether the current increase in real estate prices can be maintained after the Olympics are over.
Price growth is heavily dependent on trains and subways, not buses
The biggest influence on price growth in a particular area is the development of train or subway lines. In Japan, a bus route or buss rapid transit (BRT) has rarely been shown to improve property values.
There are plans to introduce a BRT that would connect Harumi Island with the Ginza district. While access to Ginza may sound appealing, the majority of residents in the island areas need access to business areas such as Otemachi, Marunouchi, Shinagawa and Shinjuku. Rather than stopping at Ginza, a bus to Yurakucho Station on the JR Yamanote Loop Line would at least provide commuters with an easier switch to the train system.