The average sales price of a newly constructed apartment in the greater Tokyo region was ¥63,790,000 ($460,000 USD) in July. This was a year-on-year decrease of 1.8% and a decrease of 1.1% compared to June.
The average sales price per square meter was ¥962,000 ($6,934 USD), down 2.2% year-on-year and also down 3.5% compared to June.
July was the first month in the last three that the average sales price has dropped year-on-year; and also the first month in two that the average sales price per square meter has fallen.
Supply was up year-on-year: Will it help the longer term supply shortage?
At the same time, developers released 2,268 new units for sale in the greater Tokyo region, a year-on-year increase of 16.2%. This was the first time in three months that the supply of units has grew year-on-year.
Looking back on what the market looked like in the first half of 2022, we see that developers released 12,716 newly constructed condominium units for sale between January and June 2022, a year-on-year drop of 4.2% and a monthly average of about 2,119 units. So the July supply number represented an increase compared to the first half of the year.
Will this make a dent in the longer term supply situation?
We believe that at least through the end of this year, it is unlikely that the supply of newly constructed units will be able to meet buyer demand to a degree to depress continued price growth, despite the YoY drop we saw in July sales prices.
As of the end of July, total inventory of newly built condominiums in the greater Tokyo area came to 5,126 units, an increase of 54 units compared to June. This compares to a total inventory of 6,087 units at the end of July 2021, or about 15.8% less than the inventory for the comparable period last year.
In its 2002 fiscal year forecast, the Real Estate Economic Institute (REEI) estimated that the total supply of new units in greater Tokyo would grow by about 4.6% year-on-year to about 34,000 units. If this holds, it would take supply above the pre-pandemic fiscal year 2019 level of 31,238.
The issue is that this number would still be below the pre-pandemic supply trend.
As we have mentioned in previous reports, the Bank of Japan has indicated that it plans to continue with its easy money policy, even as the yen remains weak against the US dollar and Euro. This means that mortgage rates in Japan will likely remain at historic lows for the foreseeable future, incentivizing many renters to consider buying their own home.
The pandemic has also opened up working-from-home opportunities to many workers. This has caused some people to consider buying a home, whether a condominium or single-family home, rather than staying put in an apartment.
These tailwinds will tend to keep demand strong.
A key factor affecting the July data was the effect of sales at the Harumi Flag development, which are the buildings that hosted the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Athletes Village.
This sprawling 13.9 hectare project was renovated after the Olympic and Paralympic games and is being sold as condominiums to the public.
The site is now a residential sub-division housing 12,000 people in 5,632 apartments (4,145 condominiums and 1,487 rental units) spread over 23 residential buildings, ranging from 14- to 18-stories, and one commercial facility. The development includes landscaped parks, childcare facilities, shops, and other commercial facilities.
July was the fifth sales phase, in which ten major real estate companies, including Mitsui Fudosan, released 408 units for sale to the public. There were 5,669 applications received from interested buyers, with an average of 13.9 applications per available unit (and the most popular unit receiving 96 applications!). The highest priced unit sold for ¥107.3 million(or about $774,000 USD).
But the key takeaway from the Harumi Sales numbers is that many units at Harumi Flag are actually very modestly priced (Source: Nikkei newspaper). Because so much of the new supply in July came from the Harumi Flag development (about 18% of new supply released in greater Tokyo), this dragged down the overall average sales price for Tokyo as a whole.
Those watching sales price trends in greater Tokyo may want to keep this in mind when parsing average sales price data.
The contract rate trend is another data line indicating the strength of the market, at least until July.
The contract rate is the number of units contracted for sale divided by the number of units offered for sale. The 70% mark is considered the dividing line between a seller’s and buyer’s market. The average contract rate for greater Tokyo was 72.1% in the first half of 2022, which means that it has been a strong seller’s market, as demand has exceed supply.
In July, it fell to 60.7%, the second consecutive month in which the rate was in the sixties. Does this mean that we are seeing a change in overall buyer sentiment?
Strong buyers for units in the Harumi Flag development would suggest otherwise.
Another thing to keep in mind is the way in which the contract rate is calculated. The contract rate only considers units newly released for sale, not those already previously released for sale.
Because there were relatively fewer units released for first phase sales in August and because most buyers do not immediately apply to buy a unit as soon as it is released, the July contract rate understates longer term demand. The analysis offered by the REEI is that the longer term buyer demand is expected to remain strong, which will have the effect of continuing to support price growth.
Average Sales Price of an Apartment in Tokyo – By City & Prefecture
Here is the breakdown of average sales prices by area for July 2022 compared to June 2022 and year-on-year.
Average Sales Price Per Square Meter of an Apartment in Tokyo – By City & Prefecture
Here is the breakdown of average sales prices per square meter by area for July 2022 compared to June 2022 and year-on-year.
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Need to Know
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