Capital gains

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am

apan's property market is heating up again. Nick Axford, head of research for Asia-Pacific at CB Richard Ellis, predicts Asian pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and real estate investment trusts will expand their investment in properties in Asia's developed and emerging markets this year.

Tokyo's premium residential projects have a special appeal - on top of the high reputation of Japanese architecture, Tokyo provides an international setting with clearly defined regions.

Experts see signs of recovery in the Japanese property market. Michiko Nakamura, China's regional manager at Mitsui Fudosan Residential, says: 'Property prices in Japan have been rising since the end of last year. We expect them to keep doing so in 2011.'

When you buy property in Japan, it's wise to buy from major developers, because their reputation can make a big difference in resale value. You can rest assured about the quality of buildings there because residential projects are subject to vigorous quakeproof tests.

Tokyo has largely preserved the Japanese flavour that has vanished in most of the country's cities. Two premium projects are now available to Hong Kong buyers - the Park Court Akasaka The Tower that provides 518 units and the Park Court Azabujuban The Tower with 440 units. The 43-storey Park Court Akasaka tower is located in the 'royal district' of Akasaka. It takes eight minutes to reach the Akasaka subway station on foot. The tower offers 915 to 1,841 sqft dwellings from one- to three-bedroom units. Prices start from HK$10,600 per sqft. The tower overlooks the royal garden of the Akasaka Palace, a favourite spot for peach blossoms in springtime.

CB Richard Ellis is the sole agent marketing the two projects. Kaoru Ishiwata, executive manager of the urban development department 1's sales group at Mitsui Fudosan Residential, says stringent regulations made the development of Park Court quite a challenge. 'We had to acquire small plots, of land, one by one. It took us 20 years to finish the project,' he says. Their partner for the Akasaka project is Nippon Steel City Produce.

The Park Court Azabujuban tower is in Azabujuban, Minato, a posh urban setting and only three minutes' walk from the Azabujuban subway station.

There are many restaurants and shops in the area, and the art triangle in Roppongi - comprising the National Art Centre, the Museum of Art and the Mori Art Museum - is nearby. Mitsui Fudosan, Mitsubishi Estate and Nippon Steel City were responsible for building the 36-storey Park Court Azabujuban tower. Nakamura says the tower is ideal for young professionals. The units range from 1,020 to 1,740 sqft and the average price is HK$20,500 per square foot.

Rebecca Shum, executive director and head of investment and project marketing at CB Richard Ellis, says 20 units are available to Hong Kong buyers, from HK$6.3 million to HK$43.5 million.

The projects were completed last year. 'More than 80 per cent of the units in both projects are already sold,' Nakamura says. 'Most buyers bought the units for themselves or as a second home.'