Japan’s regional land prices rise for 1st time in 27 years

TOKYO • Land prices outside Japan’s three main cities rose for the first time since the bursting of a property bubble in the early 1990s, adding to signs that a moderate economic recovery under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is gradually filtering through to the regions.

The average price of land outside the metropolises of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya edged up 0.4% as of Jan 1 from a year earlier, rising for the first time since 1992, according to Land Ministry data released yesterday.

Falling unemployment and higher pay, low-interest rates, and demand for hotels and retail space to cater to foreign tourists helped boost land prices, the ministry said.

Overall, Japan’s land prices rose 1.2%, increasing for a fourth straight year.

Some analysts have warned that the easy supply of cheap property loans made possible by the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy risks feeding localised property bubbles.

The data also showed that gains in property prices outside Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya were largely limited to bigger provincial cities such as Fukuoka, Sapporo, Hiroshima and Sendai.

The swanky Ginza shopping district of Tokyo had the highest land price at ¥57.2 million (RM2.1 million) per sq m. That’s well above its ¥38.5 million price tag at the height of a bubble in 1991.

It’s also more than 400 times the most expensive land price in Tottori prefecture in western Japan, the prefecture with the lowest figure. — Bloomberg