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Real estate in Japan - statistics & facts

Japan is a country with only very limited space for buildings, as mountains make up about three-quarters of the land. In addition to this, the country has a fairly large population, which leads to a high population density, especially in the cities. After a long period of stagnation, average land prices had been growing again but declined in 2021 amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Prices continue to be highest in the capital city of Tokyo, which is the economic center of Japan. The prefectures Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa form the Greater Tokyo Area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas worldwide and a popular destination for domestic and international workers. Other major hubs include the metropolitan areas centering around Osaka and Nagoya. While the major urban areas still enjoy a stable population despite the country’s demographic changes, more regional areas have to cope with depopulation tendencies, which is reflected in land price development by area across the country.

Residential real estate

The Japanese residential real estate market is characterized by a large housing supply, which in combination with a declining population leads to a growing housing stock and rising vacancy rates in less populated areas. House prices rose amid the pandemic, while official land prices declined for the first time since 2016. Next to domestic customers, demand in the residential real estate market is partly driven by foreign investors. Except for some historically protected locations, Japan has no restrictions on foreign real estate property ownership, making it an attractive market for investors from other countries.
While the second-hand housing market is considered small by international comparison, sales of pre-owned condominiums exceeded sales of new condominiums for the third consecutive year in the Greater Tokyo Area and the existing home sales index in Japan has seen an upward trend over the past years.

Commercial and industrial property market

The major metropolitan areas have shown an increase in commercial land prices over the past years, fueled by Japan’s burgeoning tourism industry and low interest rates that had led to increased hotel and office building numbers throughout the country. While the pandemic and the decline in tourism has hit commercial land prices in the metropolitan areas, industrial land prices continued to rise amid increasing demand for logistics facilities and a growing e-commerce market. When it comes to the office market, more than half of all office space in Japan was located in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The central business district in Tokyo is made up of the five wards Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the vacancy rate of office space in Tokyo's central business districts has increased considerably, parallel to a decrease in the average monthly office rent. Offices and logistics facilities continued to be the leading asset class for Japan’s real estate investment market. As of 2021, Japan boasted one of the largest real estate investment trust (REIT) markets in the in the world.

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