The Ginto Residences - The Pavilions first Japanese property

The Ginto Residences

Ski residences have become a hot property of late. Their four-season accessibility and usability have put locations as tony as Gstaad and Aspen, and as hip as Whistler and Queenstown at the top of many investor’s second home wish list, ahead of beach resort properties. Japan, with its pristine Hokkaido snow, affordability and close proximity has leapt onto Asian investors’ radar, and the latest to enter the fray is The Ginto Residences.

You might be interested in:
>> Investing in Tokyo: The Westminster Nanpeidai
>> Interview with Japan Hana's Glass Wu

Reality check

Japanese property has its detractors these days, despite the first sustained economic expansion in a decade. Nonetheless, the real estate market remains hot on the back of seven consecutive quarters of growth, rising consumer spending, steady inbound capital investment and strong tourist numbers. Tokyo took aim at 20 million tourist arrivals by 2020 and beat that number by 2016, with 24 million international arrivals last year. The target now is 40 million by 2020, and 60 million by 2030 — rivalling regular top ten destinations Spain and China.

With solid fundamentals, it comes as no surprise the sleepy little haven of Niseko, in Hokkaido, continues to see investors flocking to its hills. Roughly two hours from Sapporo’s Shin Chitose Airport — serving Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Beijing, and Shanghai directly — and with a Shinkansen connection coming soon, Niseko’s guaranteed deep snow and temperate summers have gained it a lot of traction over the past few years. As has its moderately priced property, which is flirting with oversupply according to some.

The Ginto Residences

The Ginto Residences

“It will be [oversupplied], because we’re all rushing in there,” begins The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts founder and CEO Gordon Oldham, speaking as an institutional investor. But the factors that drew him to Niseko apply to individual buyers as well. The question should not be one of why Niseko, “The first question should be why Japan? For me it’s because of the question of title in Asia. Where can I buy where I don’t have to put property in the name of a partner?” On top of that, it’s gorgeous. “I heard a lot about Niseko, and I’d never been there. The first time I went it was probably the worst day of the year — cold, rainy and grey — and yet it was beautiful.

Boutique The Pavilions group opened its first hotel in Bali in 2002, and currently operates just eight, including residences in Phuket; Niseko and Lisbon are in the pipeline. As an investment, Niseko leans towards long-term capital gains rather than immediate yields. Oldham admits there are better choices for the impatient. “If you have money to put into real estate as an investment, and are looking for a return on your money, there may well be better opportunities. But with better returns comes more risk. Everybody has their own risk matrix,” he says. He also brushes aside Niseko’s perceived lack of winter facilities — 30 runs compared to 200 in Whistler. “There may be only four or five ski stations around right now but there’s a lot of room for expansion.

Finally, the elephant in the room for Japanese investment is North Korea. In September, the North Koreans sent Japanese residents scrambling by firing a missile over south Hokkaido, not far from Niseko. The incident hasn’t had much of an effect on property yet, but could it? “Should I really buy an apartment in Paris?” argues Oldham. “There’s always something. And in my limited experience, the people making the money are the ones willing to go against the grain. Where is safe? I have a nephew who’s about to emigrate to Houston… If you keep deferring your lifestyle decisions based on what might be, could be, should be, there’s no end to it.

Related articles:
>> How to buy property overseas
>> What do people do with the houses they buy overseas?


Five star Niseko

The Ginto Residences is offering a lifestyle property heretofore unavailable in Niseko. With Japanese returns being on the conservative side, The Pavilions’ latest is a long play. Located steps form Hirafu’s ski lifts and minutes from the resort’s amenities, Ginto Village, and its entertainment plaza, owners will be invited to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, which is going up next door to the residences. Indoor and outdoor onsens, spa, swimming pool, yoga studio and fitness centre are among its facilities, and preferred pricing is offered at the bar and restaurant, among other services.

The Ginto Residences comprises of 31 bespoke villas, built either by owners privately or by The Pavilions. Each villa sits on at least 10,000 square feet of land. Oldham sees the homes as appealing to families looking to avoid the oppressive heat of Southeast Asia during the summer, typhoon at other times, and an environment where kids can roam in safely, while admitting, “If you want to lie on the beach and get brown, obviously it’s not the place.

The Ginto Residences

The Ginto Residences



The Ginto Residences

The Ginto Residences

So, who’s buying at The Ginto Residences? “I’m aiming at the person whose most precious commodity is time. I’m not waxing lyrical; we’re all very busy. That probably explains, apart from preservation of capital, why so many people are drawn towards hotel related properties.” The Ginto Residences will also offer optional management, full security, entry into the hotel rental pool and high spec personalised services tailored to each owner’s requirements. Need your pantry stocked for a party you’re having on arrival? No problem. Finishes Oldham, “I don’t know of any other property in Niseko that can offer that.”

The Ginto Residences is scheduled for completion in 2019. Prices for remaining villas in Phase 1 begin at approximately US$950,000 (HK$7.4million). For more details refer to

>> Previous issue: China: a market update

>> Next issue: Investment opportunity at Royalston, South Africa