Niseko’s luxury hotel and villa boom continues

There is no end in sight to the current construction boom in the ski resort town of Niseko in Hokkaido, with a number of luxury resorts and private villas under development. Spacious homes and apartments can easily fetch upwards of several hundred million Yen (several million USD). Rising construction costs and a labor shortage, however, are putting a strain on developers.

Tokyo apartment sale prices increase for 64th month

According to REINS, 2,641 second-hand apartments were reported to have sold across greater Tokyo in January 2018, down 12.3% from the previous month and down 7.7% from last year. The average sale price was 33,590,000 Yen, up 1.2% from the previous month and up 7.0% from last year. The average price per square meter was 516,000 Yen, down 0.6% from the previous month but up 4.6% from last year. This is the 61st month in a row to see a year-on-year increase in sale prices.

Tokyo Bay’s transport woes may leave Athlete’s Village an isolated outpost

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun morning paper has suggested that the post-olympic future of Tokyo’s Athletes Village, located on a man-made island in the bay, seems uncertain as the city looks to scale back plans for the bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

Without adequate transport links, one major developer reported that the the potential salability of the 5,600+ condos to be built in the village looks grim.

The Athletes Village will be converted to a mix of rental and condo-style apartments after the 2020 Summer Olympics. The 18 hectare site will have 24 buildings containing over 5,600 apartments and housing over 10,000 residents. Over 4,000 of the apartments will be put on the market for sale, with the remainder to be held as rental-only units.

Tokyo apartment asking prices reach highest level since 1994

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average asking price of a 70 sqm (753 sq.ft) second-hand apartment across greater Tokyo was 35,770,000 Yen in 2017, up 2.9% from 2016 and the fourth year in a row to record a year-on-year increase.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area the average asking price was 48,250,000 Yen, up 1.3% from 2016. This is the highest level seen since 1994. This is being supported by a number of investors buying apartments off-the-plan and then listing them for resale at prices higher than what they paid for them.

Kyoto to demolish 1 billion Yen EXPO 92 relic

The Danish Pavilion built for EXPO 92 in Seville and relocated to Japan in 1993 may be demolished early this year.

The pavilion was designed by Knud Holscher of KHR Architects AS and Erik Reitzel and debuted in Spain in 1992.  The town of Tanba (now part of Kyotamba town) purchased the building for approximately 1 billion Yen (about 9 million USD at the time) as a symbol for cultural exchange between the two countries. It was shifted to Tanba to a site that the then-mayor was planning to convert into the Kyoto Denmark Park. The ambitious project was considered ground-breaking but quickly turned into a white elephant.  The plans never eventuated after the mayor was caught up in a corruption scandal. The following economic malaise of the 1990s sealed the project’s fate. 

Tokyo’s net inflow of residents increases for 22nd year in a row

The net inflow of population in the greater Tokyo (Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa) area has increased for the 22nd year in a row. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the area saw 419,283 new residents in 2017, with a net inflow of 119,779. Tokyo’s 23 wards saw a total of 361,906 new residents and a net inflow of 61,158.

Kyoto introduces new regulation for owners looking to demolish traditional machiya

Kyoto City officials have voted in favor of a rule that will require owners of Kyoto’s traditional machiya townhouses to provide advance notice to the city prior to demolition. However, options to help reduce the burden of maintaining a historic home remain extremely limited. Without the support and participation from the local community this new rule may have only a minor effect.

Imperial Hotel up for potential redevelopment?

A nearby acquisition by Mitsui Fudosan has some industry experts suggesting that the1100-room Imperial Hotel near Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo may be slated for future redevelopment.

The hotel includes the main building that was built in 1970 along with a 31-storey office/hotel building at the rear that was completed in 1983. By the time of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the main building will be 50 years old. With a booming tourism industry, many of Japan’s top hoteliers are expanding, refurbishing or redeveloping their older hotels.