Konnichiwa from Tokyo – Low Vacancy Rates & New Development

TOKYO_2013

I came to Tokyo expecting to find an aging office stock with little new construction and extremely high vacancy rates. I am surprised to report that not only are there magnificently designed, new, mixed-use projects, especially in the Shiodome area, vacancies are at levels that would make us envious. It turns out that vacancy rates in the 7% range (including the older stock) are considered dangerously high. Historically, rates have been under 4% in the Tokyo prime markets, only rising in response to major global impacts like the “dot com bubble” or the recent recession started by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. Curiously, real rents have not grown that much. With vacancies like this in Boston, rents would be spiking. Clearly, it’s a different economy!

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