Quick real estate news summary for the week

Tokyo apartment rents reach a record high, a condo in Tokyo Bay to include shared office space for residents, Nara welcomes a new international hotel, and agents now required to provide information about flood risks. Below is a quick weekly summary of some of the recent goings-on in the Japanese real estate market.

Tokyo apartment rents reach record high

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average advertised monthly rent of a condominium-style apartment in Tokyo’s 23 wards reached 3,860 Yen/sqm in June, up 0.4% from May and the highest on record. Rents are currently up 5.8% from June 2019.

New condo to feature communal offices for residents

In a quick adaption to the new normal of telecommuting, Mitsui Fudosan has changed the communal area design of one of their new condos to incorporate individual office spaces and meeting rooms for residents who will be working from home. Buyers will also have the option to change the apartment layout to include a home office nook. The condo is Park Tower Kachidoki Mid and South – a 2,786-unit mega development in Tokyo Bay. Sales are scheduled to start this Autumn. Construction will be completed in 2024.

Condos struggling with empty car spaces

The rise in car-sharing services, along with an aging population who are no longer driving, are causing some apartment buildings to struggle to maintain their costly mechanical parking systems. A survey by the Condominium Management Companies Association found that 60% of the homeowner associations reported vacant car parks in their buildings. For machine-type parking, one in four spaces were vacant. Most building bylaws prohibit the leasing of car parks to anyone who is not a resident of the building and changing the bylaws to allow it requires 3/4ths of the owners to agree. Leasing to outsiders is classified as revenue and subject to taxation, adding further hassle to the process.  Local city ordinances may require a minimum number of car parking spaces to be provided when approving condo developments, regardless of actual demand. In some locations it can be a ratio as high as 50% of the total number of apartments.

Buyers and tenants must now be informed of flood risk

From August 28, real estate agents will be obligated to inform homebuyers and renters of any flood risk before signing a sale or rental agreement. If there is any flood risk, it must be mentioned in the due diligence report provided to buyers or renters, along with a map showing the risk zone and the nearby evacuation points. Agencies that fail to mention it risk a possible business suspension order. The due diligence report, or Explanation of Important Matters, already includes a section for indicating any landslide or tsunami risks to the property, but the flood risk explanation was not mandated. However, many agencies already include the flood explanation as part of their reporting. Flood hazard risk maps can be found on many city websites or by visiting the local city or town hall. 

Luxury hotel opens in Nara

The JW Marriott Hotel Nara opened its doors on July 22. The 158-room hotel is 3 kilometers west of Todai-ji Temple. Room rates start from 45,000 Yen per night, with the 172 sqm presidential suite going for 800,000 Yen per night. Opening was originally planned for spring, but was delayed due to the pandemic. The hotelier has switched their focus towards the domestic tourism market, with the hope that the national government’s controversial Go To Travel campaign provides some needed stimulus.

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