Behind the real estate investment scams that have Japan’s regional banks concerned

The following is a summary of the recent information that has come out since the share house and whole-building investment scam scandal has been exposed in Japan.

Inflated rental projections

Guaranteed or estimated market rents were set much higher than actual market rents in order to inflate yields and sale prices. Share houses were perfect for this since it can be difficult to gauge appropriate market rent, making it easy to inflate figures. Share houses operated by one defunct operator were running at occupancy ratios of just 20%.

Japan’s whole building renovation market doubles this decade

It has often been said that Japanese consumers prefer new construction over old. However, this way of thinking has started to change over the past few years with home buyers turning their attention to the existing home market. In 2016, sales of existing ‘second-hand’ apartments in greater Tokyo exceeded those of brand-new apartments for the first time ever. This has not gone unnoticed by Japan’s major real estate developers, who, once focusing solely on new construction, are now entering the growing renovation market. 15 of the top 20 developers are already active in this market.

Fuji Keizai, a marketing research and consulting group, forecasts over 27,000 homes and apartments to be renovated and sold across Japan by professional house-flippers in 2018, up 10% from 2017. By 2020, this number is forecasted to reach 35,000 units, with a total of 131.4 billion Yen spent on renovations.

Average price of an apartment in central Tokyo reaches highest level in recent history

According to REINS, 2,303 second-hand apartments were sold across greater Tokyo in August, down 26.6% from the previous month but up 1.7% from last year. The average sale price was 33,180,000 Yen, down 1.3% from the previous month but up 2.5% from last year. The average price per square meter was 521,000 Yen, down 300 Yen from the previous month but up 3.2% from last year. This is the 68th month in a row to record a year-on-year increase in prices.