Average land prices in Japan’s three largest metropolitan areas — Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya — are up for the first time since 1990, the government said Monday, providing further evidence the economy is picking up.

Average land prices in the three metropolitan areas as of July 1 had risen 0.4 percent in residential areas and 3.6 percent in commercial areas compared with the same period last year, according to an annual survey by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.

Although prices nationwide for both residential and commercial land fell for the 15th straight year, they are declining more slowly, the survey found.

Average land prices for all 47 prefectures were down 2.3 percent in residential areas and 2.1 percent in commercial areas, according to the survey. A year earlier, the price declines were 3.8 percent for residential land and 5.0 percent for commercial property.

Kumamoto Prefecture was the only prefecture where the rate of decline in commercial areas rose, compared with eight prefectures last years. Seven prefectures, including Yamagata and Shimane, saw the margin of decline widen in residential areas, down from 16 prefectures the previous year.

The survey relied on sample land prices at 25,346 locations around the country.

Land prices in commercial areas were up 3.9 percent in the Tokyo metropolitan area, 3.6 percent in the Osaka area and 2.4 percent in the Nagoya area, while residential land prices were up 0.4 percent in Tokyo and 0.1 percent in Nagoya. Prices in Osaka were unchanged.

Land prices in central Tokyo — Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato wards — shot up 17.8 percent in residential areas and 14.2 percent in commercial areas, in response to a growing demand for condominiums and office buildings, ministry officials said.

For the first time in 19 years, land prices were up in all surveyed locations in Tokyo.

Land prices surged 22.3 percent in commercial areas in central Nagoya. Three locations in the city recorded the three highest increases in commercial land prices anywhere in the country.

Land prices in the town of Kutchan, Hokkaido, marked the sharpest increase for residential areas, at 33.3 percent.

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