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2013年3月26日 (火)

公示地価 不動産デフレ脱却へもう一息

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 26, 2013)
Revitalization of business crucial to escaping real estate deflation
公示地価 不動産デフレ脱却へもう一息(3月25日付・読売社説)

Land prices have been showing stronger signs of bottoming out. To make it possible to restore real estate prices to normal levels and lead the nation out of deflation, the government must accelerate economic revitalization.

Posted land prices as of Jan. 1 this year, which were announced last week by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, dropped 1.6 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in residential and commercial areas from a year before. This marked year-on-year negative growth for the fifth straight year since the Lehman shock in the autumn of 2008.

However, the bright side is that the margin of decline shrank for three consecutive years. Above all, it may be said that the bottom is in sight in three major metropolitan areas where the margin of decline remained below 1 percent.

The year-on-year fall in the average land price contracted in almost all prefectures. This indicates that the situation is improving in both urban and regional areas.

Funds have been flowing into the real estate market on hopes for the economic revitalization policies put forth by Shinzo Abe before he became prime minister. If this trend continues, it will spur a rebound in land prices.


Signs of recovery

Improvement is conspicuous in residential zones as a result of such policies as low interest rates and tax deductions for people who take out housing loans.

In Tokyo, some areas showed positive growth compared to no change the year before, thanks to brisk sales of condominiums.

It is noteworthy that land prices are coming out of a slump in commercial areas, particularly in metropolitan areas, which tended to lag residential areas in the pace of their recovery.

The number of spots with higher land prices increased in redevelopment areas centering on large-scale commercial facilities such as Tokyo Skytree and areas where there is strong demand for moving to newly built houses and condominiums with advanced earthquake resistance.

Vacancy rates are falling, and the drop in rents is coming to an end.

Investments, mainly from after parts of Asia, seem to be expanding. This is possible because real estate in Japan is considered relatively inexpensive, as the yen has weakened due to monetary easing policies.


A matter of concern

Improvement is slow in regional commercial areas facing structural problems such as shrinking populations and battered economies.

In the areas devastated by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the polarization has weakened between land prices in tsunami-affected coastal areas and in higher areas that escaped being inundated.

But it is worrying that a growing number of areas are showing a sharp rise in land prices as the demand to move expands due to the progress of reconstruction projects.

The residential area in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, marked the biggest rate of increase in land prices for two years in a row. Land prices turned upward across the board in municipalities in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures along the Pacific coast.
Miyagi topped the national list of prefectures in terms of the growth rate in land prices.

The central and local governments concerned should beef up their surveillance to prevent sharp jumps in land prices that will have an adverse effect on housing reconstruction.

Authorities must be cautious regarding the effect on land prices of increased demand ahead of a hike in the consumption tax planned for April.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 25, 2013)
(2013年3月25日01時12分  読売新聞)


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