A survey by public broadcaster NHK has found that the there were 4,406 buildings and land parcels in Hokkaido owned by foreign funds and corporations as of January 2020. This is a 12% increase from 2019. Even with the international travel bans, some industry experts say acquisitions have continued throughout 2020 as foreign investors are confident that things will return to normal post-covid.
NHK’s survey covered 56 cities and towns with populations of over 20,000. Of the 4,406 offshore property owners, 938 were registered in Hong Kong, 703 in mainland China, and 519 in Australia.
Not surprisingly, more than half of the properties were located in the Niseko ski resort district. Another ski resort destination – Furano – is rising in popularity with 186 properties owned by offshore owners, up 30% from 2019.
The Niseko branch manager of Hokkaido Bank said foreign investors were jumping at the chance to take advantage of a slow market in Hokkaido due to the pandemic.
In December 2020, luxury resort-condominium The Vale Rusutsu opened. The 10-story building has 160 apartments, including a 280 sqm (3,013 sq.ft) penthouse that was priced over 500 million Yen (approx. US$4.76 million). Hotel guests were fewer than expected this ski season due to the pandemic, but the sales team has reported a constant stream of inquiries from interested buyers. Apartments have been selling to buyers from throughout Asia. In the same month, the Higashiyama Niseko Village Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel opened. This is the fifth Ritz-Carlton Reserve and the first in Japan.