Although it is still decades behind, Tokyo’s luxury* property market is finally starting to catch up with its international counterparts. Several new projects in the city center have lifted the bar for pricing and design.

How much can you expect to pay?

Depending on size, location, brand, amenities, and layout, these apartments may be priced from 1 billion Yen up to 27 billion Yen for a single apartment. This can work out to anywhere from 5 to 18 million Yen per square meter (US$3,400 ~ 12,250/sq.ft).

The buildings tend to be limited to the very central and prime parts of Shibuya and Minato, especially the Roppongi and Toranomon districts. Apartments surrounding Hinokicho Park at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi/Akasaka can be priced from 4.5 ~ 10 million Yen per square meter (US$3,000 ~ 6,800/sq.ft). Penthouse units tend to be priced above 10 million Yen per square meter.

On October 4, The Daily Shincho, a gossip rag, quoted an unnamed real estate insider that said a penthouse in one of the new highrises in Toranomon was priced at 200 million USD, which would make it around 27 billion Yen at current exchange rates. Another penthouse in Shibuya was on the market last year for almost 7 billion Yen (US$51 million).

In recent months, we have started to see even the mid-range apartments in brand-name buildings hit the market at the 4 ~ 5 million Yen/sqm range.

Off-market listings only

The truly luxurious properties are almost entirely marketed offline and introduced directly to clients via their real estate brokers. You won’t see much advertised publicly. Some projects are sold out entirely through private invitations and only offered to buyers that have a past relationship with the developer or broker. Getting into this inner circle of preferred buyers is often the only way to access some properties.

Limited supply

Supply is still far below what you may find in other countries. We believe this is due to several factors:

  • Sites suitable for luxury projects are exceedingly difficult to acquire, and the right location is everything when it comes to high-end developments. It can take many, many years to secure the right site.
  • This sector of the market is not well understood or often ignored by the majority of domestic developers or real estate companies. Data is almost impossible to obtain, and the developers that do it well have relied on their own in-house data collection spanning years.
  • It’s a niche market. With such a robust market for standard, non-luxury housing, developers have been able to reach sales targets and revenue quotas by providing ordinary housing with a quick turnaround. Targeting a new niche might not be necessary for them.
  • Time, cost, and skill. Building luxury homes requires impeccable attention to detail during the planning, construction and marketing phases. Construction costs, already high in recent years, can be a magnitude higher due to the quality of materials required. 

*When you see the word ‘luxury’ used by real estate brokers in Japan it typically corresponds to what would be a mid-range property in the likes of New York or London. Apartments may be ‘luxurious’ because they are simply in a high-rise building, or over 80 sqm in size, while having one bath, one toilet, a tiny factory-built kitchen, plastic flooring and cheap wallpaper.

When we say luxury we actually mean luxury to a global standard. Think a minimum of two bathrooms, large layouts, full kitchens, high ceilings, and quality finishes.