Shinjuku is a neighbourhood (actuality a district, or ku, as well as a city) that is as vivid in its name as the district itself. Like Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, London’s Camden Town and Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, Shinjuku conjures up images of trendy, swarming crowds of the hippest people in the world eating, drinking and wearing what the rest of us will get around to in a couple of years, though admittedly many of those fashion plates may have wandered in from neighbouring Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. In a city known for its “cool” factor and being the living definition of urban, Shinjuku doubles down on that.
Heart of the City
Prominent though they may be, Shinjuku isn’t all crazy hair, dining fads, love hotels and hostess bars (and host bars for women). Shinjuku is a major commercial and transport hub — home of the world’s busiest train station serving (rumour has it) four million people through over 200 exits daily (agoraphobes and claustrophobes should steer clear) — as well as several of Tokyo’s government offices and major Japanese businesses, among them communications giant NTT, consumer and industrial camera manufacturer Olympus and Nissin Foods, maker of the ubiquitous Cup Noodle. Shinjuku Gyoen (park), the prestigious Waseda University, Tokyo’s gay ghetto, the Park Hyatt, Hilton and Rihga Royal hotels and the famed Kabukicho are also located here. People also live in Shinjuku, one of whose neighbourhood is the upscale Yotsuya.
Given Japan’s recent economic resurgence, Shinjuku may be a smart place to purchase investment property. “Inquiries regarding Japan properties have risen around 15 percent over the past three months, driven by the promising returns on real estate investment amid a thriving property market benefitting from the Olympics effect and prospects of Japan’s resurgent economy,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s Mei Wong, regional director and head of international residential properties at the end of 2013. “We expect Majesty House Shinjuku Gyoen Nade to lure enthusiastic interest from overseas investors.”
Located adjacent to Shinjuku Gyoen Park, the 10-storey Majesty House is one of the latest Japanese properties to cross the water and market itself to overseas investors; it’s the second to do so in Hong Kong in the last year. Traditionally perceived as inaccessible, Japanese developers are starting to see the advantage, and sometimes necessity, for foreign investors, and they’re increasingly making it easier. They’re also confident in their market. “Everyone thinks it will continue to grow to 2020 at least,” theorises Akihiko Mizuno, international director and head of capital markets for Jones Lang LaSalle Japan, Majesty House’s agent in Hong Kong. “Abe winning the Upper House makes for real, sustainable growth. He doesn’t need to compromise and negotiate. He and his party can pass laws and affect real change,” he notes.
Gold Medal Value
PanaHome’s luxury residential development appeals to Singaporean and Hong Kong investors on the strength of the value found in Tokyo. Prices are rising and many property professionals are bullish on Japan this year, but it still offers the kind of high quality real estate that is becoming harder to find in other parts of Asia and which is astronomically priced in London, New York and even Sydney. Comparable properties in Hong Kong (Argenta, The Cullinan, The Arch) can cost up to twice a much as they do in Tokyo. According to research by JLL, a leasehold 2,700-square foot flat in Argenta runs just over $80 million — or $30,000 per square foot. At Ark Hills in Tokyo, 2,600 square feet will cost a shade under $40 million, or roughly $15,000 per square foot. That kind of value is handy given Japan still has financing issues for non-residents, something allegedly on Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s agenda to remedy.
When complete, Majesty House will comprise 195 contemporary apartments ranging between approximately 540 and 1,200 square feet in a tower just a few steps from Shinjuku’s historical garden, a designated cherry blossom viewing spot and with no less than five train stations less than a 10-minute walk away. Beyond that Tokyo Station, Roppongi, Akasaka and much more are accessible in minutes. Significantly, the property will also be within striking distance of the city’s new Olympic venues — including the new Olympic Stadium and the massive redevelopment area nearby. Majesty House is scheduled for completion in February 2014. Prices begin at approximately JPY65M (HK$4.8 million).