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2013年9月21日 (土)

基準地価 経済再生で底入れを確実に

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 21, 2013
Ensure land prices bottom out through economic revitalization
基準地価 経済再生で底入れを確実に(9月20日付・読売社説)

The trend toward the bottoming out of land prices has become conspicuous due to expectations of an economic recovery. Efforts must be accelerated to promote revitalization of the national economy and bring land prices back to normal levels.

Benchmark prices had declined for land in residential areas for 22 consecutive years as of July 1, and had dropped for land in commercial areas for six consecutive years, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. However, the most recent decline was smaller than the drop the year before.

In the three major urban areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, residential land prices almost leveled off as they edged down just 0.1 percent from a year before, while commercial land prices rose 0.6 percent to post the first growth in five years.

Residential land prices leveled off possibly due to the effects of such policies as low interest rates and tax incentives for housing loans. Another factor may be the rush to buy houses in anticipation of a consumption tax hike next spring.

The rise in commercial land prices can be attributed to the fact that the demand for switching to building structures with high earthquake resistance has increased in line with the economic recovery.

Another factor may be that prices for Japan’s real estate have been considered relatively low as the yen weakened due to the bold monetary easing promoted under the Abenomics economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. Investment funds from overseas are believed to have flowed into the Japanese real estate market.

There is concern that land prices in urban areas will slump around 2016 due to an oversupply of office buildings in the Tokyo metropolitan area. But given Tokyo’s winning bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, land prices in the waterfront areas of Tokyo may climb sharply.

Keep close watch

Trends in land prices will affect personal consumption and corporate capital investment due to their asset effect. It is necessary to keep a close watch on land-price trends, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, because they serve as a barometer to determine business trends.

To lift land prices away from the bottom and reinvigorate the real estate market, it will be indispensable to carry out a growth strategy steadily.

It is necessary to heed the fact that land prices remain sluggish in regional areas. Land prices soared in 37 percent of the spots surveyed in the three major urban areas, but the comparative percentage for regional areas was only about 6 percent.

Even in regional areas, however, there have been many cases in which land prices rose due to the attraction of commercial facilities and tourism development. We urge local municipalities and companies to use such endeavors as a reference to devise ways to make their towns more attractive to live in.

In the areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, land prices have soared sharply. Of the locations that recorded the 10 highest growth rates in land prices, nine were in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which were hit hard by the March 11, 2011, disaster.

The spot surveyed in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, which is located on higher ground, marked the highest increase rate of about 30 percent, as the demand to move there has heightened.

Speculative land transactions aimed at reselling at higher prices for profit-taking should not be allowed to lead to sharp rises in land prices, thereby hampering house rebuilding projects. The central government and local municipalities must keep a closer watch to prevent such moves.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 20, 2013)
(2013年9月20日01時30分  読売新聞)


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