Tokyo apartment prices continue to reach new highs, Hakuba sees 30% jump in land prices, and Japan loses ground in global real estate transparency ranking. Below is a quick weekly summary of some of the recent goings-on in the Japanese real estate market.

Apartment asking prices in Tokyo reach highest level on record

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average asking price of a 70 sqm apartment in Tokyo’s 23 wards saw a month-on-month increase of 0.8% in August, and a year-on-year increase of 2.3%. Other major cities, such as Yokohama, Saitama, Chiba, Nagoya and Osaka all saw prices drop from July. Asking prices in Nagoya are down 0.5% from July and down 3.3% from last year. In Tokyo’s central six wards (Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku, Bunkyo, Shibuya), asking prices increased by 1.1% from the previous month to 85,060,000 Yen, reaching the highest level since record-keeping began in 2002. Prices are up 6.9% from last year, driven by growing prices in the more central three wards of Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato. Central Osaka saw prices fall 0.9% from the previous month, while central Nagoya saw a 1.7% drop.

Japan ranks 16th in global real estate transparency

According to JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index for 2020, Japan ranked 16th worldwide, dropping two spots from 2018. Singapore ranked 14th and Hong Kong ranked 15th. The country performed reasonably well in terms of investment performance, regulatory and legal, and transaction process. In terms of real estate technology, the country is lagging and that has been especially apparent with the coronavirus and stay-home orders. There are also no obligations to record real estate transaction prices, limiting real-time market information.

Hakuba sees land prices jump 30%

Despite Nagano Prefecture recording a 1.1% drop in Standard Land Prices in 2020, Hakuba’s Echoland district saw the highest increase in the prefecture with land prices rising 30.3% at one survey site. Echoland has 34 accommodation facilities, 16 restaurants, and 16 souvenir/retail shops, making it a hub of activity. Although inbound tourism has vanished this year and is not likely to return over the vital 2020/2021 ski season, property owners in Hakuba are holding tight, keeping land supply limited. This has been preventing any crash in property values. The ski town is relatively easy to access from Tokyo, which means it can rely on a large pool of domestic tourists and holiday-home buyers. A survey site in Karuizawa, a popular summer resort area in Nagano, saw land prices rise 8.6% this year. Meanwhile, the areas inundated by the Chikuma river flooding in October 2019 saw land prices drop 5.0% ~ 13.1% in 2020.