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2014年3月24日 (月)

公示地価 アベノミクス効果で底入れか

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 24, 2014
Land prices may have bottomed out, but trends must be carefully watched
公示地価 アベノミクス効果で底入れか(3月23日付・読売社説)

Officially assessed land prices have finally turned upward in major urban areas thanks to Abenomics, a development that we hope will invigorate the real estate market and increase momentum toward ending the nation’s long-running deflation.

A report released by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry on Tuesday showed official land prices as of Jan. 1 in both residential and commercial areas in the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya increased from a year earlier for the first time in six years.

In particular, Tokyo’s bay areas, where many venues of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be located, saw around 10 percent increases in land prices.

The average prices for both residential and commercial land tracts surveyed nationwide decreased for the sixth consecutive year but at slower rates.

Domestic land prices, which plummeted due to economic deterioration in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ collapse in 2008, have begun to bottom out, led by rising land prices in major urban areas.

An economic recovery brought on by Abenomics and bold monetary easing pursued by the Bank of Japan have fueled momentum to redevelop urban areas, helping land prices to recover. And with expectations for Japan’s economic growth, money from overseas speculators has also flowed into the domestic real state market.

Symbolic of this trend, the total asset value of real estate investment trusts (REITs)—which procure funds from investors to buy real estate and pay them dividends from rent revenue and other sources—registered a record high in Japan last year.

In addition to the beneficial effects brought by such policies as low interest rates and tax breaks for housing loans, the last-minute increase in demand for housing ahead of the hike in the consumption tax rate in April has been robust.

However, how land prices will move from now needs to be carefully watched.

Concerns remain

Of concern is a drop in demand due to a rebound from the last-minute boost in demand. Also, higher prices for building materials and a labor shortage in the construction sector will push construction costs higher. It is feared this may cool the housing market and put a damper on the trend of land prices bottoming out.

The government should carefully observe the effect of the expansion of housing loan tax breaks and other measures that are planned to prevent an economic slump after the consumption tax rate is raised.

Especially worrisome is how land prices in local areas will fare. Core cities such as Sapporo, Sendai and Fukuoka have seen increases in their land prices, but land prices in a significant number of areas have continued to drop. The gap in recovering land prices between urban areas and rural regions could widen further.

There are not only structural problems with the local economies, including depopulation, but there are also signs that they are lagging behind in economic recovery because the effects of Abenomics have not reached them.

The government must push ahead with regulation reforms and other measures of its growth strategy, which can lead to a recovery in the local economies, halting the slide in overall land prices across the nation.

Eight of the top 10 locations that saw the highest rates of increases in residential tracts of land were on high ground and in other areas in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. This reflected the high demand for land plots for reconstructing houses for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

It is essential for the government and the local governments to remain vigilant so speculative land purchases made with the aim for reselling for profits will not result in a sharp rise in land prices, scuttling efforts to reconstruct disaster-afflicted areas.

(From The Yomirui Shimbun, March 23, 2014)
(2014年3月23日01時42分  読売新聞)


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