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A reasonably priced 100 sq. meter home is now within closer proximity to the capital, according to a metropolitan government white paper on housing released Friday.

In 1997, a 100 sq. meter home costing an average of 39 million yen — about five times the average annual salary of 7.9 million yen — could be found in Nishi-Hachioji, 45 km west of central Tokyo, the report says. In previous years, Tokyo workers had to go as far as Takao, one stop away from Nishi-Hachioji on the JR Chuo Line, to find the same deal, it says.

The report attributes the increase in affordable housing nearer the capital to the drop in land prices and a 310,000 yen increase in the average household income. However, the report also says, “it is still a difficult commuting distance,” citing the roughly one-hour train ride from JR Nishi-Hachioji Station to JR Tokyo Station.

In 1991, the peak of the bubble economy, Tokyo workers could barely afford homes about 60 km from central Tokyo, according to the report. Such severe housing conditions have also caused a decline in the city’s youth population, the report says in its special feature article.

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