Japanese housing market continues to improve
House prices in Japan have risen strongly in 2016 due to “Abenomics” – the reflationary policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Traditionally the property market has been a negligible part of Japan’s economy, the third largest in the world when measuring GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the fourth largest by PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). Agriculture, fishing, mining, automobile manufacturing and tourism have been the cornerstones of the Japanese economy for many years, but real estate has been catching up and is now worth a greater level of consideration than was previously the case.
The Land Institute of Japan has recorded year-on-year rises of more than 20% on new condominiums in the massive Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the largest such rises in the country, but other important cities also saw large rises, such as the 7.5% increase in the Osaka Metropolitan area. Land prices have also increased modestly in both areas and further rises are anticipated over the rest of the year as another round of government arrives. So far in 2016, Tokyo has seen a 25% in land sales compared to the same period in 2015.
One possible concern for the future is that the available housing stock is not increasing at any particular speed, or at all in the case of Tokyo and Osaka. The rest of the first world has similar problems but unlike, for instance, the UK, the population of Japan is predicted to decrease sharply in the coming decades – projections have Japan losing a third of its current population by in the next 50 years due to a rapidly declining birth rate, an increasingly elderly population and good old fashioned mass emigration. With these worries far in the future, this might be a good time to consider investing in Japanese property and get ahead of the curve.