Slim pickings for large apartments in Tokyo – JAPAN PROPERTY CENTRAL K.K.

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Small housing options continue to dominate Tokyo’s rental supply, while larger ones remain a rare find. In the 23 wards, 93% of rental apartment listings are under 60 m2 (645 sq.ft) in size and just 0.7% are over 100 m2 (1,076 sq.ft) in size.

With the price of purchasing an apartment surging in recent years (it has been on an upwards trend since late 2012 ~ early 2013 but has accelerated since the start of the pandemic), some would-be homebuyers are finding themselves priced out and are turning to rentals. And instead of renting a tiny, single-occupant apartment, this tenant profile is looking for larger housing suitable for couples or families.

In a market where supply is already tight, this new demand is squeezing it further. Recent data shows larger rental apartments have been experiencing a higher increase in rents.

Is there a quick fix?

No. Developing larger apartments may require a larger development site – something very difficult to source in a heavily built-up and tightly-held city like Tokyo. And, the total number of large apartments that can be built on a site will be less than half of what can be built if it was compact, single-occupant housing.

Despite the growing demand, developers remain hesitant to build larger rental apartments due to conservative practices and a preference to stick with what has been working in the past – supplying small, single-occupant housing.

Data from the above infographic is based on active listings on the Suumo portal website as of March 3. On the rental side, the maximum size you can set to filter listings is 100 m2. The same limit applies on AtHome, but the Lifull Homes website allows you to filter from 200 m2 (although rental listings above that size account for just 0.1% of supply).


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