/

Mitsubishi Estate to hike office rent in Marunouchi

Bloomberg

Mitsubishi Estate Co. plans to increase office rents for the first time in about five years in 2014 as the supply of new buildings slows.

Mitsubishi Estate, owner of about 30 buildings in Tokyo’s Marunouchi business district, plans to boost rents by as much as 10 percent when leases are renewed or new leases signed from next year, Chief Executive Officer Hirotaka Sugiyama said.

Japan’s biggest developer by market value, Mitsubishi Estate expects rents from existing buildings that were constructed prior to the completion of its landmark Marunouchi Building in 2002 to increase for the first time next fiscal year after declining for about five years.

“New supply this year has been less, so the office market has improved considerably,” Sugiyama said in an interview Wednesday. “As corporations become more robust, the need for moving has become apparent, which is benefiting us.”

While Mitsubishi Estate’s vacancy rate in Marunouchi, Japan’s most expensive business district, almost doubled to a 10-year high of 6.8 percent in September after the introduction of five new buildings in the area, a decline in new supply will enable the company to raise rents next year, he said.

The rate stood at 3.66 percent in March, the company said.

“There is no new supply till 2015 in Marunouchi, so the supply and demand will become tight,” said Sugiyama. “We will become more aggressive from next year.”

New office supply of 580,000 sq. meters this year in Tokyo’s 23 wards is about a third of new space of 1.75 million sq. meters completed in 2012, according to a survey by Mori Building published Oct. 2.

The JP Tower, Marunouchi Eiraku Building, Palace Building and Otemachi Financial City South and North Tower that are located in the central business district were all completed in 2012, adding a combined 250,000 sq. meters of space, according to Mitsubishi Estate.

The office vacancy rate of Tokyo’s five central wards fell to 7.9 percent in September from 8.6 percent in March, according to broker Miki Shoji Co.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to end 15 years of deflation and the Bank of Japan’s monetary easing policy, dubbed “Abenomics,” have boosted sentiment, contributing to a recovery in the property market. Tokyo Grade A office rent will rise about 10 percent next year, according to an estimate by broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Shares of Mitsubishi Estate have risen 43 percent so far this year. That compares with a 60 percent gain for the Topix Real Estate Index and a 67 percent increase in shares in its competitor, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Japan’s biggest developer by sales.

Mitsubishi Estate is also considering joining the bid to develop the Olympic Village complex, with bidding for the project scheduled to open next year ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, Sugiyama said. The 44-hectare village, to be located in Harumi on Tokyo Bay, will be financed and built by developers. The apartments will be sold or leased after the games, according to bid documents.

“We have heard that the units at the athletes’ village can be put up for sale after the games,” said Sugiyama. “That is appealing to us and we would like to take part in this project.”

The Olympic Village will be built in the middle of two main competition zones and consist of luxury apartments surrounded by Tokyo Bay, with a view of Rainbow Bridge between central Tokyo and the Odaiba district. It will comprise 10,860 residential units spread across about two dozen buildings, along with training gyms, dining halls, seaside restaurants and parks, the Tokyo bid documents show.

While the documents show that the athletes will stay between the second and 14th floors in each building, the developers may construct high-rise buildings ahead of the games, Masaaki Sawai, the government official in charge of planning for the Olympic Village, said in an interview Oct. 31.