Editors' Note

The AKB48 phenomenon

12.22.2010

“There’s this thing called the AKB48 phenomenon,” so an acquaintance tells me. AKB48 is a girl idol group that is highly popular in Japan right now. The group is active as a big family of several teams of about 15 members each. This is said to represent a phenomenon in the real estate market in which a decrease in the number of large properties for sale is causing popularity to flood to the sale of properties in bulk at a high total amount. Quote: “Even if the properties lack outstanding attractiveness individually, it is extremely attractive when seen as a bunch.” I guess it makes sense.
 
The real estate market this year was so stagnant that it created such talk. Although the worst is behind, the market still remains in a deep valley or an eerie lull. In other words, low transaction volume has been an ongoing state of the market all this time. Transactions of non-performing loans, etc. seem to be gaining momentum, but it takes time for them to come to the surface.
 
In terms of real property alone, transactions of properties worth around 1 billion yen [$12 million] or less in total and condominium sites are brisk. However, even if large properties or properties that are attractive to investors come on the market, the deals are hardly ever closed because there are large discrepancies between sellers’ asking price and buyers’ offering price.
 
The market at present can be described to be of the “blind date.” Whether it is because both sides are hesitant of the other or other reasons, their eyes do not meet (the seller and buyer do not see eye to eye on price) and so nothing develops. I hope the market next year will be a vibrant one in which great romances develop.
 
 
(Taro Tokunaga)
 
 

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