Tokyo Real Estate Prices Plummet As Ghost Homes On Outskirts Of City Lie Abandoned And Unsold

Tokyo Real Estate Prices Plummet As Ghost Homes On Outskirts Of City Lie Abandoned And Unsold

Tokyo real estate prices plummet as ghost homes on outskirts of city lie abandoned and unsold

The World TodayBy North Asia correspondentMatthew Carney

Posted 

tokyo towerPHOTO: The Chinese middle class are coming in for the cheap takings and buying up apartments in central Tokyo.(Flickr: xio_olx)RELATED STORY: Affordable housing shortage drags Australia down social rankingsRELATED STORY: Ten financial surprises that could rock markets: Morgan StanleyMAP: Japan

It used to have the most expensive real estate in the world but prices in Tokyo have plummeted,with millions of houses unable to be sold.

Chinese middle classes, mainly from Beijing and Shanghai, are coming in for the cheap takings and buying up apartments in central Tokyo.

But on the outskirts of Tokyo, in Yokosuka, houses lie abandoned all over the place.

Some look as if they have been deserted for years and others as if the inhabitants suddenly upped and left.

The Japanese call them ghost homes.

In the 1970s and 1980s people came to Yokosuka to buy affordable real estate and escape the boom time prices of central Tokyo.

Now 14 per cent of homes lie empty and across Japan a staggering eight million are unoccupied.

In Yokosuka the houses are lucky to sell for a few thousand dollars.

The returns on the investment are high in Japan, I like that. There is the Olympics happening in 2020 — I expect even better conditions then.

Chinese buyer

Local council planning worker Noriyuki Shima said real estate agents do not bother listing the houses — there are simply no buyers.

"Yokosuka once thrived as a port city," he said.

"There used to be a car industry here but mechanisation took over ... there's no jobs and young people don't want to live here."

The ghost homes are the most visible sign of human retreat in a country where the population is shrinking fast.

It is a remarkable turnaround for a city that a few decades ago was struggling with overcrowding and had the most expensive real estate in the world.

Chinese investors have tripled in past year

The Chinese are coming in great numbers for the cheap takings, and it is not the billionaires but the growing Chinese middle classes that are investing in sought after areas in central Tokyo.

One Chinese buyer, who wants to remain unidentified, says Tokyo is the best choice because of a weak Yen and high rental returns.

"The returns on the investment are high in Japan, I like that," the company executive said.

"There is the Olympics happening in 2020 — I expect even better conditions then."

Japanese real estate agent Yoshi Tanaka said investors from China have tripled in the past year, and they buy with cash, looking for small to medium sized apartments.

"Compared to domestic China like Shanghai, Japan has double the return," he said.

"The cheaper Yen over the past two years has led to good sales."

And like cities in Australia, the Chinese are pushing up prices.

In some areas of central Tokyo apartment prices have risen by 20 per cent — the first real increase for a couple of decades.


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Dated: April 26th 2016
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About Marilyn: Always ahead of the highly competitive RGV real estate market, Marilyn Cortez is a Spanish speaking ...

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