Sinyi’s Japan office booms as low yen buoys property

EASY MONEY::Sinyi said it had 40 percent more Japanese property buyers from Taiwan this year because Tokyo’s monetary easing was making properties significantly cheaper

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 14

Sinyi Realty Inc’s (信義房屋) transactions in the Japanese market have grown at a faster pace over the past six months than they did in the whole of last year, demonstrating how the weakening yen has boosted investment interest in Japanese property, the broker said yesterday.

The real-estate broker’s Tokyo branch reported 177 deals in the period from January to this month with an aggregate value of NT$19.88 million (US$655,000), compared with 173 deals sized at NT$15.1 million for the whole last year, Sinyi Tokyo managing director Kenny Ho (何偉宏) told a media briefing in Taipei.

“The figures lend support to [the rising value of] Japanese properties,” whose prices have yet to show a significant recovery from a decade-long correction, Ho said.

Sinyi’s Tokyo office saw 40 percent more prospective buyers from Taiwan this year than last year, mostly middle-aged property investors with business interests in non-technology sectors, Ho said.

The broker attributed the increase in buying interest to Japan’s aggressive monetary easing measures, which have rendered Japanese real estate significantly cheaper, as well as to excess liquidity and low borrowing costs.

Lower home costs have altered buyers’ motivations, leading to an increasing number of potential buyers who are after long-term capital gains instead of rental yields, and are therefore willing to look at properties with higher price tags, Ho said.

“It is unlikely that the price of Japanese real estate will go down, given the Japanese government’s resolve to stimulate economic growth,” Ho said.

Property prices in Japan’s central business districts have picked up 4 percent to 5 percent since the fourth quarter of last year, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged bold stimulus measures to boost the country’s economy, Sinyi project manager Lee Chien-yi (李芊億) said.

Interest rates for home mortgage loans hover at about 2.5 percent in Japan, but owners of houses that are 25 years old and older may not secure bank loans, Lee said.

Taiwanese buyers in the market can seek loans from the Japanese branches of First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中信銀行), Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行), Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商銀), Lee said, adding that there is little room for price haggling in Japan.

Sinyi Realty shares closed up 0.57 percent at NT$53.40 yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX’s 0.45 percent fall, Taiwan Stock Exchange’s statistics show.

The company posted NT$984.97 million in revenue last month, down 8.66 percent from April and 2.33 percent from the year earlier, company data showed.

On June 14, the company received shareholders’ approval to distribute a cash dividend of NT$1.50 and a stock dividend of 8 percent based on last year’s earnings of NT$1.35 billion, Sinyi said in a statement.