Who is buying property in Niseko and Furano ? (and what have they seen in the market to make it so appealing?)
Of all the questions that we receive from developers and buyers of luxury properties in Niseko and Furano, there are two that are constantly at the top of their must-knows: Who is buying at the moment and why?
For both groups, the answers to these two key questions are critical. Among developers, the data enables them to determine what buyers are seeking and to project sales more accurately, and for buyers, the responses help affirm their own instincts, and reassures their gut feel that now is indeed the time to put their hard-earned cash into a property, despite closed borders and the resulting challenges to the market.
From our perspective, the answer is straightforward; the figures show that now is the optimum time to buy a property in Niseko or Furano, both to capture the immediate opportunities, and as a longer-term investment for both yourself and for your family.
At H2 Real Estate, we are primarily seeing three distinct types of buyers in the market so far this year:
The opportunist buyer typically already owns real estate in the region, and has seen remarkable growth in the value of their previous acquisitions. The returns have been so impressive that they are aiming to repeat that success with another investment.
Often, these investors are looking for property that is slightly distressed, or something they sense is under-valued in the current market, or in areas they feel will grow in desirability in the future. They may not have a firm budget in mind, but simply want to pick up another property with potential and likely to quickly appreciate in value as soon as the borders open up once again. Interestingly, these buyers can be of any nationality, from Australian to Hong Kong residents.
The second group of investors that we have been seeing more frequently in 2021 is the family buyer looking to take advantage of the market at present and secure their future holiday home in Niseko or Furano.
These buyers are mostly families who have enjoyed repeated ski holidays or summer vacations in the region in the past and, due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed both locally and internationally, have not been able to take a winter sports holiday for nearly two years. Now, they are very keen to obtain a home amid what is widely recognised as some of the best powder snow in the world. And as soon as the borders are open, they will be arriving to explore their new acquisitions.
The budgets of this segment of the market vary widely. People working to a more limited budget are finding that they are able to complete the transactions very quickly, while larger investments are requiring more consideration and time as no-one wants to over-capitalise in the present market conditions.
Even though the borders have largely been shut for close to two years, the developers are still doing their thing. Like everyone else, they are looking ahead and there is a widespread understanding that the future of Hokkaido as a destination for visitors is extremely bright. With the anticipated return of international flights expected within the next 2-3 quarters, developers are optimistic that now is the time to strike. They are out searching for that special plot of land that they can transform into properties and help develop their vision for Niseko and Furano in the future.
A close examination of the nationalities of buyers in what has been a very testing 2021 is also telling. Of the transactions since January, 36.2% of the total have been Japanese, and this underlines once again the appeal of Niseko and Furano to both domestic and foreign investors. Hong Kong residents have been the biggest international buyers in the region so far this year, with purchases making up 25.5% of the total. Australians accounted for the next largest segment with 10.6% of the transactions, followed by Singaporeans and Thais, each accounting for 8.5% of the total.
Buyers from the UK have snapped up a few properties, accounting to ~ 6.4% of all transactions, with purchases by individuals from China and Malaysia rounding out the total.
In contrast to previous years, there have not been any purchases from residents of the United States, France, the Philippines, Indonesia, Macau, Vietnam, Taiwan etc. With the return to “normality” on the horizon, we anticipate this situation changing and putting upwards pressure on prices as more buyers enter the market.
For the best insights into the luxury property market in Hokkaido’s top destinations – both for winter sports and in the summer “green season” – stay tuned for our in-house expert’s update here at H2 Real Estate!