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Land prices fell in about 40 percent of urban areas in the second quarter, reflecting sluggish demand from hotels and merchants and a slowing of transactions caused by the coronavirus epidemic, a land ministry survey shows.

Of the 100 areas surveyed in major cities, 38 logged price falls, up sharply from four in the previous survey. The number of areas where prices rose plummeted to one from 73.

It was the first time since the second quarter of 2012 that areas with lower land prices outnumbered those with higher prices.

In the remaining 61 areas, prices were flat thanks to relatively steady demand for condominiums and offices.

“It seems that people are currently waiting to see how land markets will move,” a ministry official said.

In the latest survey, price falls were more visible in commercial districts than residential districts, and also in the three top metropolitan areas as compared with other cities.

Of the three metropolitan areas, Nagoya saw prices land fall in all of its nine surveyed districts.

Prices dropped over 3 percent in eight districts, including Kabukicho in Tokyo and Shinsaibashi and Namba in Osaka. Such a steep decrease hasn’t been observed since the fourth quarter of 2011.

The only area where land prices climbed was a district in Sendai, where a redevelopment project was underway around JR Sendai Station.

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