| TOKYO, July 1
TOKYO, July 1 Land prices in Japan's three
largest metropolitan areas rose in 2013, spurred by property
investments, while prices in smaller cities kept declining,
highlighting a widening divide between the biggest urban centres
and more remote areas, a government survey showed.
Land prices in Tokyo rose 1.8 percent last year while Osaka
posted a 0.3 percent rise, both climbing for the first time in
Prices in Aichi prefecture, which includes the city of
Nagoya and the headquarters of Toyota Motor Corp, rose
1.2 percent after rising 0.1 percent the year before, according
to the National Tax Agency.
Land prices in rural Akita prefecture in northern Japan
recorded the largest decline of 4.8 percent.
While land prices in most of Japan's 47 prefectures fell,
Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, both damaged by the 2011
earthquake and tsunami, posted increases last year.
Overall, Japan's land prices fell 0.7 percent but the pace
of the decline was the slowest in six years.
Analysts say the rise in large cities has been driven by
investors anticipating further price gains as vacancy rates
decline and rents start picking up, suggesting strong investor
confidence in the market's revival.
Earlier this month, Japanese property developer Mitsui
Fudosan Co raised more than $3 billion by selling
shares to the public, saying it would use the proceeds to
develop new properties nationwide.
Property investor Secured Capital Investment Management Co
last month put an office tower in central Tokyo's Marunouchi
district up for sale for more than 180 billion yen ($1.8
billion), which would make it Japan's priciest property
transaction since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The tax agency assesses land prices as of Jan. 1 every year
to calculate inheritance and gift taxes on properties acquired
The block in Tokyo's posh Ginza district surrounding the
Kyukyodo Building, which houses an upscale stationery shop,
retained the top spot as Japan's most expensive plot of land for
a 29th consecutive year, the agency said, at 23.6 million yen
per tsubo, or 3.3 square meters, up 9.7 percent from a year
($1 = 101.4200 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Kim Coghill)