THE Niseko real estate market bounced back into favour with investors this year after a slow season last year following the economic crisis. Powderlife spoke to several local real estate figures to get their thoughts on the season and projections for the future.
Grant Mitchell, Tracks Real Estate
Review: The season panned out pretty much as I expected, with decent sales volumes despite lingering global economic worries and the lack of bank financing. There is now a strong base for more sales over the summer and higher sales volumes next winter. Buyers’ focus has also broadened from last season’s obsession with Hirafu ski-in/ski-out properties to ‘walk-in/walk-out’ Hirafu properties and other resort locations such as Annupuri this winter.
Projections: The Hanazono, Niseko Village and Capella projects will have a positive impact on Niseko’s property market. The development companies’ marketing campaigns will access buyers usually beyond local companies and raise general awareness of Niseko. Potential buyers will spill over and buy into other Niseko properties.
Ruskin McLennan, Niseko Property
Review: This season was characterised by the retreat of the Aussie buyers and the rise of HK, SG and Chinese buyers. Property has clearly been divided into ski-in ski-out and the rest. The rise of the prestige market continues with the strongest sales this season being in the $1 million US range and above in The Vale Niseko and Capella. High points were the sale of 880 tsubos in Izumikyo and the sale of a 5 million USD villa in Capella.
Projections: I see the move to high end property continuing. The success of the restaurants and bars will see more commercial property start to be developed. The sale of the Hilton site will have a strong positive influence on property values in the area.
Derek Kennewell, LJ Hooker Niseko
Review: This season’s property market has shown that Niseko is truly finding its feet as a very real and maturing property market with a strong future. Interest from developers and buyers alike is amazingly strong in all budget ranges, however, with the tight purse strings from the world’s banks it has been only the higher liquidity buyers able to make purchases and in many cases get amazing deals.
Projections: Exponential growth in visitor numbers, property offerings and also services available to holiday makers. Major resort companies in Asia have seen this trend and are well and truly on their way. The increased marketing campaigns by these companies also helps to market Niseko as a whole, and will have a flow-on effect.
John Barton, Meikle and Associates
Review: With our location (opposite The Vale Niseko), our customer base has been demanding ski-in/out-property. At the same time, some customers have chosen to land bank in Annupuri and Hanazono with forthcoming developments in mind or to identify opportunities in the current market. We were very pleased with sales we made in The Vale Niseko including both penthouses.
Projections: Developments in the next few months will have a big impact on the rest of the year and we look forward to infrastructure in the area keeping pace. There are some rumours of finance packages becoming available which will have a big impact. It is still an uncertain world in an economic sense but the fundamentals driving Niseko onwards and upwards remain unchanged.