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New minpaku laws decidedly unpopular in Kyoto City

As at the end of August 2018, Kyoto City had only received 129 applications for short-term letting under the new minpaku laws that were introduced in June. Of those, 33 are located in exclusive residential zones where properties can only be rented out to guests for a maximum of 60 nights between January 15 and March 15, with some exceptions allowed for traditional machiya townhouses and homes where the host also lives on the premises. This pales in comparison to the total number of 7,028 applications made nationwide. In Kyoto Prefecture, excluding Kyoto City, only 18 applications have been received as at September 14.

New apartment supply in Tokyo increases in September

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, a total of 3,372 brand new apartments were released for sale across greater Tokyo in September, up 124.5% from the previous month and up 13.2% from last year. This is the first year-on-year increase since June. Several large-scale projects in Tokyo and Chiba contributed to the supply. Also, September is typically busier than August due to the start of the Autumn sales period.

Liquefaction in Sapporo caused by poor soil conditions

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.

Lending tightens for investment properties

The fraudulent investment scandal, propelled by Suruga Bank, is having far reaching consequences for the investment property market with investors, even legitimate ones, finding it increasingly difficult to obtain financing. Since the start of the year, the price of investment properties has fallen. Meanwhile, outstanding loans to private investors has reached 23 trillion Yen (approx. 202 billion USD).

Greater Tokyo second-hand apartment prices increase for 69th month in a row

According to REINS, 3,244 second-hand apartments were sold across greater Tokyo in September, up 40.9% from the previous month and up 0.7% from last year. The average sale price was 32,920,000 Yen, down 0.8% from the previous month but up 2.0% from last year. The average price per square meter was 513,900 Yen, down 1.4% from the previous month but up 1.4% from last year. This is the 69th month in a row to record a year-on-year increase in prices.

Mitsukoshi to close historic department store in Niigata

Niigata City is losing major retail players due to a declining population and a shift in consumer habits towards online shopping and larger suburban malls. On September 26, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings announced the planned closure of their Mitsukoshi Department Store in the city by March 2020. The closure is expected to worsen the decline in the city center’s retail district.