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Price of Land in Sapporo (2023 Update)

As part of our series on real estate in Sapporo, we present some data about land prices in Sapporo, based on property appraisals by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism:

Sapporo Land Value Statistics

  • The average price for land in Sapporo for 2022 was ¥102,200 per m2
  • In 2022, the price of land in Sapporo increased 15.0% over 2021 prices
  • The price of land in Sapporo increased 9.3% from 2020 to 2021
  • For the period of 2018-2023, land prices in Sapporo increased 40.2%
  • For the period of 2013-2023, Sapporo land prices increased 69.8%

As a Sapporo-based company, we see evidence of these kinds of gains in the real estate market in Sapporo every day. Recent market conditions are helping to bring more attention to Sapporo as both an excellent place to live and as a place to invest in real estate.

The high return on investment from real estate in Sapporo (and some other cities in Hokkaido) is also helping to change perceptions about real estate ROI in Japan.

Real Estate Appreciation in Japan

There are some negative perceptions about real estate appreciation in Japan. Many of those ideas come from troubles related to Tokyo and other major cities in Honshu, and to the timing of the asset bubble (and subsequent collapse) of 30 years ago.

In those locations, a combination of inflation and speculation led to dramatic increases in the price of land in Japan which peaked in 1991, and then to a collapse and decline in property values (which finally bottomed-out nationally in 2009).

Real estate depreciation after the “Bubble Years” had major significance in Japan, and was an international story that set expectations about real estate in Japan for many years.

That story is changing, but there are still challenges in the Japanese real estate market.

The most famous cities in Japan like Tokyo and Kyoto have seen real gains (beginning around 2013). And, as the story of real estate is always local, some markets have grown faster than others. For example, many places in Hokkaido are growing faster than Tokyo. And Sapporo in particular is seeing dramatic increases in land values.

Increasing Property Values in Sapporo

Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan. At nearly 2 million people, Sapporo is a stable community, and has a substantial economy.

Looking at recent population trends, the population of Sapporo has mostly increased in the last 10 years, and the percentage of the population of foreigners in Sapporo has increased even faster. New residents create more demand for real estate, and bring new capital for investment, renovations, and new construction in Sapporo.

The combination of relatively low cost of living and high quality of life has made Sapporo an increasingly relevant city. There is a robust market of apartment rentals, detached homes, and investment property in Sapporo. For those reasons and more, Sapporo’s property values have increased significantly in the last 10 years.

Sapporo Land Prices Increased 69.8% in 10 Years

In the period from 2013 (which marks the beginning of a returned to general appreciation in Japanese real estate) to 2022, the price of land in Sapporo increased 69.8% (from an average value of ¥60,200 per square meter in 2013 to close to ¥102,200 in 2022).

Sapporo Has Greater Real Estate Appreciation than Tokyo

While cities like Tokyo have more transactions and higher average sales prices, the appreciation in Tokyo is much lower than Sapporo.

In the last 10 years, Tokyo real estate has gained about 30.2% while Sapporo has appreciated 69.8%; over the last 10 years Sapporo has grown more than twice as fast as Tokyo.

The Price of Land in Sapporo Has Increased 4.8% per Year for 10 Years

Over the last 10 years, the average appreciation of land value in Sapporo is 4.8% per year.

Looking at the data year by year, not every year produced the same returns.

In fact, in 2013, Sapporo real estate lost value (real estate sale prices in Sapporo were down about 3% that year).

In other years, the cost of land in Sapporo was only up only moderately (1.2% and 0.7% in 2013 and 2014, respectively). But several years saw increases in the price of land of over 5%, and the best year on record (in the last ten years) was recent; in 2022 the value of land in Sapporo increased 15% in one year.

Real Estate Appreciation in Sapporo Wards

Sapporo is a big city; in all there are 10 wards in Sapporo (or neighborhoods), and the increase in the value of land is higher in some areas than in others.

Chou-ku is the most central, high-demand area of Sapporo, and prices there are certainly rising; land prices in Chou-ku were up 13.9% in 2022.

But other areas of the city like Higashi-ku (16.2% increase in 2022) and Kiyota-ku (16.9% in 2022) have gained value even faster. And the area of Teine-ku has the greatest real estate appreciation in the last few years, up over 22.1% in 2022, almost double the rate of appreciation of Chou-ku.

Land Value versus the Value of the Structure

For clarification, as the Japanese have a tradition of wanting to demolish and rebuild houses and buildings, it is expedient to talk about “land value” and to ignore or minimize the value of the structure.

While real estate appraisers in Japan may put no value on the structure, the land alone could justify an increase in a sales price for real estate in Hokkaido.

And while the agents, the bank, or real estate appraisers in Sapporo may put no value the structure, it may be perfectly serviceable for residency, as a rental, or for business (in fact, that is often the case). Just because the building is considered “depreciated,” doesn’t mean it can’t be used and enjoyed in its current condition (or after a relatively modest remodeling).

The Increases in Land Prices in Hokkaido Are Mostly Driven By a Few Cities

It is tempting to say that land values in Hokkaido are increasing, and when you include Sapporo, that is true “on average.” However, when you look city by city, we see that land price appreciation in Hokkaido is not distributed evenly.

While Sapporo land prices were up 15% in 2022, other large cities in Hokkaido did not perform as well. Cities like Otaru and Asahikawa had basically no gains in 2022 (land prices in those cities were up 0.6% and 0.7% respectively). And land prices in Hakodate fell in 2022, down 0.2% from 2021.

However, the story of land appreciation in Hokkaido isn’t only about Sapporo. Land prices in Obihiro increased 9.8% in 2022. And land prices in the city of Ebetsu were up 27.5% in 2022 (the greatest increase for any city in Hokkaido).

While the use of “averages” can cloud the picture of actual performance city-by-city, Sapporo and some of these other strong ROI cities are helping improve that overall average for Hokkaido (compensating for some cities with flat or negative change in value), and for the larger national average for Japanese real estate.

Niseko versus Sapporo

As we mention before, Sapporo isn’t the strongest market in Hokkaido (for major cities, Ebetsu performs better). And as we talk about land values in Hokkaido, the price of land in Niseko deserves some attention.

As we say in our post about The Niseko Story, what we call “Niseko” is a region that includes several small cities and plots of land outside of the city limits. As the definitions are not clear, and the total number of transactions are much lower than the larger cities in Hokkaido, data on Niseko land prices is not easy to assess.

Using the same source of data we used for the rest of the figures, we can focus on the town of Kutchan (the largest city in the Niseko area) and can report that land prices in Kutchan City appreciated 2.4% in the last year. Looking at the last five years (going back to 2018), the value of land in Kutchan has increased more than 80%, and more than 500% in the period beginning in 2013.

And while Niseko has been a hot market for 30 years now, it has been an exception; a very local story based on the unique characteristics of that region. As the gains in Hokkaido real estate value extend beyond vacation home purchases in Niseko, Sapporo itself will gain more attention from real estate investors in Japan and from the media as well.


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For More Information:

— Our complete guide for Buying a House in Sapporo
— Some estimate for the Cost to Buy a House in Sapporo
— Our report on How to Rent an Apartment in Sapporo and Move-In Costs for Sapporo Apartments
— Some details on Short-Term Apartments in Sapporo
— Recent data on the Population of Niseko and Foreign Populations Living in Niseko
— The Population of Otaru
International Schools in Sapporo
— Find Lawyers in Hokkaido
— Our Taxes in Japan page
Buying Property in Hokkaido as a Foreigner

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