National

Japan rural land prices rise for first time in 28 years

Kyodo

The average price of all types of land in Japan’s rural areas rose last year for the first time since 1992, aided by redevelopment projects and improvement in infrastructure, the government said Wednesday.

Land in all categories, including residential and industrial land in the nation’s regional areas, excluding the big cities of Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, grew 0.1 percent from a year earlier as of Jan. 1, while commercial land prices in those areas rose 0.3 percent — both figures seeing the first increase in 28 years, it said.

Residential land prices in those rural areas, which had been falling since 1996, were unchanged from a year earlier, an annual government survey showed. However, the upward trend could reverse if the current coronavirus outbreak further damages the economy, analysts said.

Prefectural capitals and surrounding regions also saw a rise in residential land prices due to redevelopment projects, improvement in infrastructure and increased child care support.

A number of municipalities without underlying reasons for growth also saw slower declines in land prices as they became affordable after years of depreciation following the collapse of the country’s asset-inflated bubble economy, according to the land ministry.

Overall, the average price of land in all categories nationwide, including the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, as well as the four big regional cities, grew 1.4 percent from a year earlier, up for the fifth consecutive year, according to the land ministry survey covering some 26,000 locations.

The national average price for commercial land climbed 3.1 percent, up for the fifth year, while that of residential land went up 0.8 percent for the third consecutive year of increase.

An official of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism pointed to “a strong upward trend” with land prices triggered by a boom in the office space market, a steady demand for hotels amid the influx of visitors from overseas as well as for easily accessible residential areas.

In the three largest metropolitan areas of the country, commercial land prices saw an average growth of 5.4 percent and residential land prices an increase of 1.1 percent.

In the regional areas overall, including the four big cities, commercial and residential land prices rose 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

In the four cities alone, commercial land prices rose 11.3 percent, and residential land prices 5.9 percent.

Of the nation’s 47 prefectures, 24 saw gains in commercial land prices, while 20 registered an increase in residential land prices.

By specific location, the town of Kutchan on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, a popular ski resort among foreign visitors, led the nation in both commercial and residential land price jumps, shooting up 57.5 percent and 44.0 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, residential land prices in the city of Nagano, which was battered by Typhoon Hagibis last year, and commercial land prices in Yubari, Hokkaido, with a rapidly falling population, saw major declines.

The main shop of Yamano Music Co. in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district logged the highest land price among the surveyed locations across the country at ¥57.7 million ($546,000) per square meter.

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