Japan’s land prices rise for second year running in 2022 – tax agency

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s land prices rose for a second consecutive year in 2022, the country’s tax agency said on Monday, suggesting a gradual recovery from the impact pandemic as restrictions were eased.

Average land prices rose 1.5% last year, a National Tax Agency survey showed, following an increase of 0.5% in 2021.

The pandemic hit the property market in 2020 when the land prices fell for the first time in six years as the crisis hurt demand for offices and hotels.

As the recovery spread beyond the cities, average land prices rose in 25 out of the 47 prefectures nationwide, the survey showed, up from the previous year’s 20 prefectures.

Japan’s northern Hokkaido posted the biggest rise of 6.8%, helped by demand for both commercial and housing land in Sapporo city, the capital of the prefecture, and its surrounding area.

Twenty prefectures posted a decline in prices last year, compared with 27 in 2021. Prices were stayed flat in two prefectures.

Japan’s most expensive location, a plot in Tokyo’s glamorous Ginza shopping district, rose 1.1% in 2022 to 42.7 million yen ($295,440) per square meter, and were up for the first time in three years.

Hopes for a return of inbound tourism helped to buoy prices. Ginza remained the nation’s highest price location for the 38th straight year, the survey showed.

Tourism to Japan all but halted for more than two years during the pandemic, but the number of visitors has steadily recovered since the government resumed visa-free travel for many countries late last year.

The tax agency assesses land prices as of Jan. 1 every year to calculate inheritance and gift taxes on properties acquired in that year. The survey covered over 320,000 plots.

($1 = 144.5300 yen)

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)