High times for some

Tokyo’s five big real estate companies released their midterm accounting figures last week. Mitsui, Sumitomo, Tokyu, and Nomura all reported increased sales for the past fiscal half-year, while Mitsubishi Jissho showed a decline. However, only three of the five predict that they will show a profit for the next half-year ending in March. The profits for the four all came from sales of high-end condos. Sales of lower-priced condos and office buildings remain very sluggish, like the economy itself.

Specifically, condos in tower buildings in central Tokyo are selling quite well, and during the past six months, Mitsui, Sumitomo, and Nomura completed construction of large luxury condo buildings. There is obviously still demand for expensive properties represented by big named companies. Consequently, construction of cheaper condos continues to decline.

The housing market is expected to get even worse now that interest rates for long-term bonds are predicted to rise. That means banks will raise interest rates for housing loans. Salaries meanwhile aren’t moving at all, and bonuses this winter will be the lowest ever.

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