According to Miki Shoji’s office report, the office vacancy rate in Tokyo’s five central business districts (Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku and Shibuya) was 5.65% in September, down 0.37 points from the previous month and down 2.25 points from last year. This is the first time since February 2009 that vacancy rates had dropped to the 5% range.
The 5% range is considered to be the tipping point between supply and demand. As a result, real estate companies have started to raise rents. Mitsubishi Jisho have begun seeking an increase of rent of around 5 ~ 10% in the 30 buildings they own in the Marunouchi and Otemachi business district in front of Tokyo Station. Mori Building have also started negotiating with tenants in relatively new buildings for higher rents. Mitsui Fudosan are also setting higher rents for new leases.
Meanwhile, office tenants continue to seek ways to control costs and mid-size and regional building owners are hesitant to raise rents. While vacancy rates have fallen sharply, rents are not increasing at the same speed.
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