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Land prices around Japan fell for the 13th straight year, but the margin of decline in residential areas shrank for the first time in seven years and prices in central Tokyo showed an upward trend, the government said Tuesday.

The annual survey by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, which covered land prices of 27,577 designated locations nationwide in the year to July 1, showed that the average price in residential areas declined 4.6 percent following a 4.8 percent fall the year before.

The average price for commercial areas fell by 6.5 percent against a 7.4 percent drop a year earlier. The pace of decline slowed for the first time in four years.

Average prices in residential areas matched levels registered in 1986. For commercial areas, prices matched levels before 1975, when the government began the survey.

In the three largest metropolitan areas — Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya — the average prices for both residential and commercial areas fell 5.0 percent, marking declines for the 14th consecutive year.

But the margin of decline narrowed for residential areas in Tokyo’s 23 wards for the fifth straight year, and the average price in an eight-ward area including Chiyoda, Minato and Chuo saw the first gain in 17 years of 0.3 percent.

Land prices in Chiyoda and Minato wards rose due to successive construction of high-rise condominium complexes, particularly in areas near JR Shinbashi and Shinagawa stations, analysts said.

Prices rose for some residential areas in suburban Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture.

The pace of decline slowed for the fifth straight year for commercial areas in Tokyo and its vicinity.

The ministry said trends in changing land prices have become clearer, suggesting a stronger trend of prices bottoming out.

But analysts and real estate developers pointed out that positive signs are seen only in urban areas where revival projects are under way.

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