The average unit price of new condominiums put up for sale in the greater Tokyo area in 2019 hit a 29-year-high of ¥59.80 million, a private think tank said Wednesday.

The average rose 1.9 percent from the previous year to stand at just below the record high of ¥61.23 million logged in 1990 when Japan was in the last phase of the so-called bubble economy, according to the Real Estate Economic Institute.

The high average reflected rises in construction costs, including labor expenses, due to labor shortages.

Sales of new condominiums in the Tokyo area may experience a downturn if prices rise further.

The data covered condominiums newly launched in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures — Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.

The number of new condominiums put up for sale in the Tokyo area dropped for the first time in three years, by 15.9 percent to 31,238 units, marking the lowest level since 26,248 units in 1992.

“There were consumers who gave up on buying (a new condominium) as they couldn’t keep up with the rising condo prices,” due partly to high land prices, an official of the institute said.

The proportion of condominiums for which sales contracts were concluded within the first month of sales averaged 62.6 percent, falling below the boom-or-bust dividing line of 70 percent for the fourth consecutive year.

There was no major last-minute demand for condominiums ahead of the October consumption tax rate hike from 8 percent to 10 percent, according to the institute.

The new condo supply in the area is expected to remain at a low level for the time being as most condos in central Tokyo are currently purchased by households with high incomes, such as double-income households.

The institute estimates the number of new condominiums launched in 2020 will increase 2.4 percent to 32,000 units.

“Construction costs are expected to remain high in 2020,” the official said, indicating that the condo market trends in the year are likely to follow the patterns seen in 2019.

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