The information magazine publisher Recruit just released the results of its annual condominium purchase survey, which sampled 2,431 respondents who bought condos in the Tokyo metropolitan area in 2008. The two largest age groups represented were 30-34 year olds and 35-39 year olds. The latter demographic was unchanged from 2007, but the former group, which are known in Japan as “post-boomer juniors,” increased by several percentage points, which makes sense since that’s a prime age to buy a first home. However, this figure will likely drop since fewer young people are securing stable employment these days.The average price for a condo in the 23 wards of Tokyo was ¥45 million, or about ¥2 million less than the average price in 2007. All the average prices in the surrounding prefectures were lower, and the drop from the previous year was an average of about ¥260,000 (except for Saitama, where the average price of a condo went up by half a mil). Condo sizes also dropped as did average down payments.
The meat of the survey was the responses to question on why people bought condos: 42% said they wanted to own a house for the sake of their families, while 35% said that renting was “a waste of money,” which sound like the classic condo salesman pitch. As to what it was that made them choose the condo they chose, 53% said it was the price, while 36% admitted it had more to do with the proximity of the nearest train station. Of course, not everybody can get the exact thing they wanted, and 36% said they ended up compromising on price, while 31% said they compromised on space. Quite a few also compromised on train station proximity. What percentage of these less-than-satisfied customers overlapped isn’t clear from the results, but if Recruit was really serious about the survey they’d go back in a year or two and question the exact same people to find out if their opinions have changed.