For the fourth year in a row, land prices across Japan have seen a considerable rise. Nowhere was this more significant than the Hokkaido region which reported a rise in residential land prices of 50.0%, while commercial land prices increased by an astonishing 58.8% in 2019.
Yet for anyone who visits this region, the figures will come as no surprise. New developments appear often and tourism has soured year on year as travellers the world over the journey to experience the incredible skiing, unique culture, and emerging luxury lifestyle.
Land Prices Rise In Japan, And Hokkaido.
Each year, the Chika-Koji report is released: an assessment of land prices by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). For 2018, the statistics demonstrate that the upward trend of residential and commercial real estate prices shows no sign of slowing.
In fact, Japanese commercial land prices climbed at their fastest pace in 11 years in 2018.
Yet Hokkaido and by extension, Niseko, hold the top spot for a reason:
1. Tourism in Hokkaido
In recent years, tourism has become a huge market in Japan. Indeed, the Japanese government hope to bring in 40 million foreign tourists in 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics. And in 2018, numbers reached their highest at 31 million people.
Hokkaido has taken one of the top spots for international tourism for years now. Widely considered one of the best places in the world for backcountry skiing and the ‘Aspen of Asia’ it has become a mecca for ski and luxury lovers alike.
Indeed, since its recognition as a skiing haven in the 1990s it has become one of the hotspots for foreign tourists from all over Asia, Australasia – and more recently – Europe and the Americas too.
In fact, the figures for international tourism reached their highest level ever at 2.7 million in January of this year – prime ski season in Hokkaido. And last year, during the ski season alone Niseko attracted over 811,000 visitors.
2. Luxury development in Hokkaido
Led by an increasingly wealthy tourist visiting its slopes, Niseko has been home to a influx of luxury development in recent years. High-end condominiums and hotels are to be found dotted on the edges of the ski slopes, and exclusive shopping and spa facilities have followed suit.
One example is the Sky Niseko, a condominium hotel which opened in Niseko last winter. The four-bed was priced at approximately $7.17 million USD – comparable the most up-market accommodation only found in Tokyo.
Plus, with no restriction on foreign buyers or developers in the country, Niseko has benefited from overseas investment comparable to nowhere else in Japan. Businesses from across Asia, Europe, and beyond have identified Niseko as a growing market and the influx of property developments in the area have soared as result.
3. Government investment in Hokkaido
The regional government made the decision early on to encourage foreign tourists and development. As a result, they have invested heavily in the resorts infrastructure and promotional activities.
Seiji Ohsaka, mayor of Niseko from 1994 to 2005, realised early on that he needed to build the town’s reputation overseas to ensure its survival. He sent his staff to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vail, Colorado, to spread the word about Niseko’s snow and unique charm as well as study competitors – the results did not disappoint.
In recent years the government has also invested in a ski resort bus, heated roads and footpaths on ‘Hirafu Zaka’, and a ‘Shinkansen’ bullet train from Kutchan to Tokyo – all of which have ensured that Niseko village continues to expand. In fact, Niseko now includes three distinct areas with Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, and Annupuri all having their own unique characteristics and selling points.
There are a number of reasons why the Hokkaido region has seen such a surge in its land prices in recent years. However, what’s certain is that this trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
In fact, with ever increasing number of tourists and new luxury projects with each year, this area is fast becoming the hub of international investment in Japan.
Get in touch with us if you would like to know more JNW Properties opportunities in the Niseko area.