Apartments in Tokyo continue to shrink in size

Struggling to find a large apartment to buy in Tokyo? There’s a good reason for that.

Brand new apartments over 100 sqm in size supplied across greater Tokyo in 2019 accounted for just 1.9% of total supply. This is a slight improvement from the 1.3% share in 2018. 

For the existing apartment market, the share was higher at 3.9%, although that ratio has not changed over the past three years and remains at a relatively low historical level. 

Just under 40% of all new apartments were in the 70 sqm (753 sq.ft) range, while just 9.1% were sized between 80 ~ 100 sqm. The biggest shift is in the 30 ~ 50 sqm (323 ~ 538 sq.ft) sector where the total share has increased by 3.1 points to 10% in 2019. 

Apartments over 100 sqm (1,076 sq.ft) in size are considered a luxury in Japan and usually come with premium price tags. The majority of family-oriented apartments in Japan are typically around the 70 sqm range. In Tokyo’s Minato Ward, for example, the current average asking price of an apartment over 100 sqm is 2,200,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 1,875 USD/sq.ft). This is about 43% more than the average for apartments under 100 sqm in the same district.

A possible reason for the shrinking supply of larger apartments on the resale market may be due to the typical buyer profile. These apartments may be suited more towards owner-occupiers rather than investors, and, due to their higher pricing, may be purchased by wealthier buyers who tend to hold onto them for a longer timeframe.

Wealthy residential districts such as Minato and Chiyoda wards in central Tokyo have a higher ratio of large apartments due to demand. In Minato Ward, 15% of existing apartment listings are over 100 sqm, while 3.5% are over 150 sqm in size.

Source: Tokyo Kantei, January 31, 2020.

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