• Kyodo

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Residential land prices in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya areas posted their first rise in six years in the year to July 1, while prices for commercial land in three largest metropolitan regions also rose on average, the government said Thursday.

The land ministry attributed the uptick to the low interest rates produced by the Bank of Japan’s unprecedented monetary easing tactics, which boosted investment in commercial districts, and to tax breaks for homebuyers.

The April 1 hike in the consumption tax did “not have a big impact,” the ministry said.

Residential land prices rose by an average of 0.5 percent from the previous year in the three largest metro areas.

Land prices rose at 47 percent of the residential locations regularly surveyed in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, and at 68 percent of the commercial locations. The ministry monitored 21,740 locations.

On a nationwide basis, however, residential land fell by an average of 1.2 percent for the 23rd straight year of decline, while commercial land dropped 1.1 percent, down for the seventh year, the ministry said.

Although the margin of decline narrowed in areas excluding Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, residential and commercial land prices nonetheless fell in 80 percent of the areas, ministry data showed, reflecting the narrow scope of the economic recovery.

In Tokyo, residential land rose 7.5 percent in Chuo Ward and 5.5 percent in Chiyoda Ward, partly due to strong demand for condominiums in waterfront areas near venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Among the 47 prefectures, Tokyo scored the biggest residential and commercial land price hikes — 1.3 percent and 2.7 percent.

Akita Prefecture posted the sharpest declines, falling 4.4 percent for residential and 5.5 percent for commercial locations.

For the ninth straight year, the Meidi-ya Ginza Building in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district occupied the most expensive land of all locations surveyed. It was assessed at ¥22.6 million per sq. meter.