Monday, March 26, 2007

BOJ Is Watching Land Prices for Excess, Fukui Says

i haver never understand the japanese sense of humor.......

der japanische humor wird mir wohl immer ein geheimnis bleiben ......

i stay with homer..... / da bleibe ich doch lieber bei homer....

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui said he's closely monitoring land prices after a report showed real estate in some parts of Tokyo surged as much as 46 percent last year.

``We aren't yet in a situation in which land-price gains warrant concern of excessiveness, but we'd like to keep a close watch on them,'' Fukui said in parliament today. ``Rising land prices won't automatically prompt a rate increase.''

Concern that borrowing costs at 0.5 percent will fuel land- price gains could prompt the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates in the first half of this year. The central bank wants to avoid a repeat of an asset-price bubble, the collapse of which in the early 1990s led to more than a decade of stagnation in the world's second-largest economy.

``Land prices are rising, and that's spreading to other big cities'' .... ``This may increase chances of a rate increase before the July upper house election.''

Commercial land prices in Japan's three biggest cities rose 8.9 percent in 2006, the government said on March 22, as investors were lured by large-scale developments including Mitsui Fudosan Co.'s Tokyo Midtown project, which opens this week.

``We've got a clear impression that the recovery of land prices is becoming evident mainly in large cities,'' Fukui said, adding that gains in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya were ``prominent.''
Omotesando Hills
Commercial land in and around the three cities rose for a second straight year, after gaining 1 percent in 2005, the government said last week. Residential land prices increased for the first time in 16 years, up 2.8 percent.

The steepest gains were recorded in areas near Omotesando Hills, a retail and residential development in central Tokyo that opened on Feb. 11 last year. Commercial and residential land prices both rose as much as 46 percent near the project.

Japan's two largest developers will open developments in central Tokyo in coming weeks. Mitsui Fudosan's Tokyo Midtown project includes the city's tallest building. Mitsubishi Estate Co. is scheduled to open a new 42-story skyscraper in front of Tokyo Station in April.

``The recovery in land prices generally reflects the improving outlook for the economy and higher expectations for profits that can be made by utilizing land,'' Fukui said.

Land prices nationwide rose for the first time in 16 years in 2006 as gains in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya compensated for drops elsewhere in the country, last week's report showed. Japan's commercial and residential land values are still half the levels reached in 1988.

Some Areas `Overheating'
Finance Minister Koji Omi said last week that the gains don't signal another bubble is emerging. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota said some areas are ``overheating'' and the government will ``watch developments closely.''
more on japan from tim

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