Tokyo’s office vacancy rate hits 4%, cash bonus for anyone who moves near the Fukushima nuclear plant, and apartment rents drop in Tokyo and Yokohama. Below is a quick weekly summary of some of the recent goings-on in the Japanese real estate market.

Office vacancy rate reaches 4% in Tokyo

According to Miki Shoji, the office vacancy rate in Tokyo’s central five business districts in Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku, and Shibuya has risen 0.40 points from the previous month to 4.33% in November. This is the first time it has been in the 4% range since June 2016, and the 9th month in a row to worsen. The vacancy rate is likely to continue to climb further, with a representative from Miki Shoji suggesting a chance it could hit 5% this month. The average monthly office rent was 22,223 Yen per tsubo (6,724 Yen/sqm), down 0.9% from the previous month. The vacancy rate was 3.33% in Osaka, 3.67% in Nagoya, and 3.92% in Yokohama.

2 million Yen to live near Fukushima nuclear plant

The national government is offering up to 2 million Yen to those who move to twelve cities, towns and villages around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Almost 10 years have passed since the 2011 Tohoku disaster and nuclear accident, yet the resident population in the twelve districts sits at just 20% of what it was prior to the disaster. Families who move in from other prefectures will receive a 2 million Yen payment (or 1.2 million Yen if they already reside in Fukushima prefecture), while singles will get 1.2 million Yen (or 800,000 Yen if they already reside in the prefecture). The new residents are required to live there for five years and find work. Remote work for an employer located outside the prefecture may also be allowed. Entrepreneurs who start their own business within 5 years of moving in may be eligible for up to three-quarters of their start-up costs, not exceeding 4 million Yen.

Apartment rents drop 0.5% in Tokyo and 2.4% in Yokohama

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly advertised rent of an apartment in Tokyo’s 23 wards was 3,826 Yen/sqm in November, down 0.5% from the previous month but up 2.8% from last year. The average apartment size was 53.35 sqm and the average building age was 19.2 years. Chiba City saw rents fall 2.5% from the previous month and 2.0% from last year to 1,566 Yen/sqm. Rents in Yokohama were down 2.4% from the previous month but up 14.5% from last year. In Osaka City, rents are down 0.7% from last year.