This year, Japan’s nationwide rosenka land values increased for the third year in a row with an annual rate of growth of 0.7%. The rate of growth has increased from 2017 which saw 0.4% and 2016 with 0.2%.
The Tokyo metropolitan area saw a 4.0% increase, up from a 3.2% increase seen in 2017. Kyoto Prefecture saw a 2.2% increase and Osaka saw a 1.4% increase. A total of 18 prefectures saw an overall increase in land values in 2018, up from 13 prefectures in 2017. Total real estate transactions by listed companies in 2017 reached 5 trillion Yen (approx. 45 billion USD), up 20% from 2016 and the third highest annual volume in history.
The strip of road in front of Ginza’s Kyukyodo Building was the highest valued land in Japan for the 33rd year in a row. The rosenka land value in 2018 was 44,320,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 37,100 USD/sq ft), up 9.9% from 2017 and beating a previous record price seen last year.
Niseko in top spot, and Gion in second spot
A roadside land value Hokkaido’s popular ski resort destination of Niseko saw an 88% increase this year, putting it in top spot nationwide in terms of percentage increase. Niseko was also in top spot in 2017 with a 77.1% increase along one of the town’s roads.
In second spot nationwide was Shijo Street in the Gion neighborhood of Kyoto City which saw rosenka land values increase by 25.9% over the past 12 months. The area around Shijo Kawaramachi intersection has had the highest tax value in Kyoto Prefecture for the past 27 years. In 2018 it had a rosenka tax value of 4,750,000 Yen/sqm.
Developers in Kyoto City are having a particularly difficult time obtaining apartment development sites at appropriate prices, resulting in a sharp drop in housing starts. Housing starts for apartments in Kyoto City in 2017 were down 40% from 2016, and down as much as 51% in Shimogyo ward. Prices of new apartments in the city centre are becoming unaffordable for local residents.
Mitsubishi Jisho Residence is developing a 5-storey condominium called The Parkhouse Sanjo-Aburanokoji just below Sanjo Street in downtown Kyoto, with completion due by August 2018. The average apartment is priced in the mid 60 million Yen range, with a price of around 945,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 800 USD/sq.ft). 80% of the apartments have already sold off-the-plan, with 30% of the buyers from the greater Tokyo area.
Apartment demand and foreign tourist boom pushing up prices
The increasing land values are supported by two factors – strong demand for apartments in urban centers, as well as ever-growing foreign tourist numbers. Last year saw 28.69 million foreign tourists visit Japan, up 19.3% from 2016 and the highest year on record. A strong tourism industry is leading to demand for retail in city centers as well as hotels and resorts.
There is high demand for apartments, especially high-end sales of larger units in central Tokyo and family-type apartments near major stations in suburban areas. Amidst rising land values, developers are struggling to secure development sites.
About the Rosenka land values:
Rosenka land valuations are conducted by the National Tax Agency on land fronting major roads and cover approximately 330,000 sites across Japan. Valuations are done on January 1 each year, with results announced in July. The values are used to calculate inheritance and gift tax and typically represent around 80% of the chika-koji (assessed land values), which may then in turn represent around 60 ~ 80% of actual market values, although this is not always the case.
National Tax Agency, July 2, 2018.
The Kyoto Shimbun, July 3, 2018.