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There were 88,516 new condominiums put up for sale in the Tokyo metropolitan area in 2002, topping 80,000 for the fourth consecutive year, the Real Estate Economic Institute said Thursday.

The total, the third-largest figure since the institute began compiling statistics in 1973, represented a fall of 0.8 percent from the previous year, the institute said.

Prices of condos averaged 40.03 million yen, with the average price per square meter at 513,000 yen.

Both numbers signified the fifth consecutive yearly fall, yet another indication of deflation.

Condos that have remained unsold numbered 11,611, up 2,040 over the preceding year, the institute said.

The ratio of sales contracts signed to new units put up for sale in 2002 averaged 75.4 percent, down 2.7 percentage points from the preceding year.

A contract ratio of more than 70 percent signifies a stable relationship between supply and demand.

In December alone, the supply of new condos in the Tokyo area decreased 9.3 percent from a year earlier to 8,375 units, reflecting a recent slowdown in demand.

The ratio of sales contracts signed to new units put up for sale in December came to 71.6 percent, down 12.2 percentage points from a year earlier but down 2.3 points from November.

Meanwhile, in the Kinki region centering on Osaka, the number of new condos put up for sale in 2002 totaled 39,087 units, the third most since the institute began compiling relevant statistics in 1973.

The total represented an increase of 6.9 percent from the previous year.

The average price of condos in the Kinki region rose 1.5 percent to 32.37 million yen, the first rise in five years.

The average price per square meter came to 414,000 yen, down 0.7 percent from a year before and representing the fifth consecutive yearly fall.

In December in the Kinki area, 1,960 new condos went on sale, down 37 percent from a year earlier.

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