Family-type apartments shrinking in size as prices reach upper limits

The typical family-sized 3-bedroom apartment in Japan is said to be around 70 sqm (753 sqft), but it is now becoming increasingly common to see developers offering family-type apartments in the 50 ~ 60 sqm (538 ~ 645 sqft) range. With rising construction and land prices, developers are shrinking apartment sizes in order to keep sale prices within the budget of their target buyers.

This month, Secom Homelife will begin sales of family-oriented apartments in Suginami-ku, Tokyo. 3-Bedroom apartments in Glorio Eifukucho Izumi will be 57 ~ 59 sqm (613 ~ 635 sqft) in size and priced in the 60 million Yen range. 2-Bedroom apartments start from 42 sqm (452 sqft). If apartments in this building were 70 sqm in size, they would need to be priced over 80,000,000 Yen – above the budget of most buyers.

Glorio Eifukucho Izumi Floorplans
A 42.33 sqm (455 sqft) 2-Bedroom apartment [Left], and a 54.58 sqm (587 sqft) 2-Bedroom + Service Room apartment [Right] in Glorio Eifukucho Izumi.

Itochu Property Development will soon begin sales of apartments in Crevia Tokyo Hatchobori Minato The Residence in Chuo-ku, Tokyo. 3-Bedroom apartments will start from 66 sqm (710 sqft). While the area is popular with high-income buyers, the developer is trying to keep prices in the 60 million Yen range.

19 of the 3-Bedroom apartments in Meitetsu Real Estate Development’s Shinkoiwa Park Front in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, will be under 70 sqm in size. The main buyers in this area are families in their 30s and 40s with budgets around 35 million Yen.

Apartment developments in surrounding prefectures are seeing a similar trend. Shinshowa Corporation decided to remove 4-Bedroom apartments from their new project in front of Chiba’s Kenchomae Station. 2 and 3-Bedroom apartments range from 54 ~ 78 sqm (581 ~ 839 sqft) in size. The developer was concerned with the risk of having unsold stock as 4-Bedroom apartments would have to be priced in the 40 million Yen range and unaffordable for their buyers.

A Yokohama-based developer reduced the average size of apartments in a project planned for the Shonan area from 70 sqm down to 60 sqm. They have also simplified the design and reduced some of the building amenities in order to reduce costs. By reducing construction costs by around 20 ~ 30%, they hope to limit the increase in final sale prices to about 10%.

A survey by the Haseko Research Institute found that the average size of a condominium apartment in greater Tokyo was 70 sqm (753 sqft) in the first half of 2014, 10% smaller than in 2002. The same survey also found that the average apartment was priced over 50 million Yen in 2014. The Institute expects apartments to continue shrinking in size until 2020.

Source: The Nikkei Shimbun, August 14, 2014.

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