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Land prices off 1.8%; fall least since ’07

Kyodo

Land prices fell by an average of 1.8 percent from the previous year, the National Tax Agency said Monday in its annual survey.

The decline in land prices logged its fifth consecutive year after falling 2.8 percent in last year’s survey, the agency said.

Demand was especially weak in rural areas, but urban areas continued to pick up, slowing the decline, the survey said.

The survey is based on roadside land prices at 360,000 benchmarking points throughout the country.

Land prices appear to be recovering in larger cities and some of the northeastern prefectures where demand for residential land has surged on reconstruction efforts following the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns.

In last year’s survey, land prices fell in all 47 prefectures, but this year’s figures showed growth of 1.7 percent in Miyagi Prefecture and 0.1 percent in Aichi Prefecture.

The pace of decline slowed in all other prefectures, the agency said.

The recovery in prices was partly credited to increased investment in real estate assets as expectations grew for aggressive monetary easing ahead of the general election late last year, along with solid demand for new homes and condominiums ahead of the consumption tax hike scheduled for next April.

In the tsunami-ravaged northeastern prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, housing for people moving away from the coast pushed prices up.

In Fukushima, prices fell 1.6 percent, versus 6.7 percent the preceding year.

In Tokyo, land prices on average edged down 0.3 percent after taking a 1.2 percent drop a year earlier.

Reflecting the recovery in urban areas, the highest prices among the sampling points in prefectural capitals rose by 5.1 percent in Yokohama, 3.2 percent in Sapporo and 2.4 percent in Nagoya, the agency reported.