Chinese property buyers target Tokyo, report

Updated: 2015-11-04 11:20


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Chinese property buyers target Tokyo, report

Japan's highest peak Mt Fuji emerges at dusk, seen through Shinjuku skyscrapers in Tokyo, Dec 3, 2008. [Photo/IC]

Already a force in cities like New York and London, Chinese real-estate money is now eyeing steady returns in Tokyo, reported Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Chinese investors, looking to safeguard their wealth against volatility at home, are drawn to a still vibrant market in Japan for top-grade buildings and tourist lodgings, according to the newspaper.

Earlier this year, sovereign-wealth fund China Investment Corp bought a Tokyo office-and-commercial complex for about $1.2 billion in a joint venture with US-based LaSalle Investment Management Inc.

The move came amid a string of real estate investments made by global wealth funds as the latter scoured Asia for investment opportunities and established their portfolio in the region.

Shanghai conglomerate Fosun Group bought two office buildings in Tokyo last year and is now looking at hotels because of the tourist demand, Mikihisa Hirai, chairman of the group's Japan unit, told the newspaper.

Real estate search platform received enquiries from Chinese customers on international property worth $30 billion in 2014, with each purchase budget averaged at $2.6 million, said the portal in a report.

China's outbound property investment has climbed 50 percent to $15.6 billion year-to-date in 2015, compared with the same period last year, said Wall Street Journal citing brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, adding that the statistic may understate the actual number as some transactions are not disclosed.

Property investment in Tokyo among Chinese buyers still represents a small fraction of the money going to New York, London or Sydney, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. But that may change in the next few years.

Nearly four million Chinese tourists visited Japan in the first nine months of this year, more than double the year-earlier figure, said the newspaper.

Property prices have been falling continuously for a quarter-century in much of Japan, but prices in Tokyo, especially top locations, are on the rise. According to the newspaper, average rents in central Tokyo offices reported an increase of 4.7 percent over the year.