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The number of new condominiums put on sale in the Tokyo metropolitan area in fiscal 2008 declined 30.9 percent from the previous year to 40,166 units, dropping for the third straight year and sliding below the 50,000 mark for the first time since fiscal 1992, the Real Estate Economic Institute said Wednesday.

The sharp drop was apparently because consumer sentiment was badly damaged by condo price hikes and a string of condo marketer failures amid the worsening economy, the private research agency said.

New condo prices averaged ¥47.57 million per unit, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier.

The monthly ratio of condo units that found buyers to total supply averaged 64.1 percent, below the 70 percent threshold above which sales are generally considered good.

New condos put on sale in the 23 wards of central Tokyo numbered 2,390 units, down 46.2 percent from the previous year.

By region, Kanagawa Prefecture saw a 26.4 percent decline from the year before, while condo units in Saitama Prefecture fell 39.5 percent and those in Chiba Prefecture 46.2 percent, the institute said, noting all regions saw plunges.

In March alone, the number of condos supplied plunged 46.2 percent from a year earlier to 2,390 units, falling for 19 months straight, according to the institute.

Inventories declined to 8,846 units, down 973 units from the end of February, indicating condo marketers reduced the number of condos on sale while making progress on running down inventory. This provides some glimmer of hope for the industry, analysts say.

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