“On the Ground”…. in Niseko

This is the first of our series of Country Focus reports where we highlight locations where we see most of our international mortgage loan demand – namely: the UK, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, Dubai, Thailand, Singapore, and Niseko!   

Niseko has been Asia's little secret for over 10-15 years now. Referred to as the “Aspen of Asia” with some of the best, if not the best, powder snow in the world, known as "pow" for those “in the know”. It's also foreigner-friendly towards real estate with no restrictions on owning property, even freehold. 

GMG launched the world's first mortgage options for Niseko 2 weeks ago, and we have had over 100 loan requests and 40 submissions! More below on our program.

Historically, Niseko investment interest was from local Japanese buyers looking for vacation homes outside the more well-known areas – Nagano, Hakuba, etc. but that all changed when International hotel brands began building a presence in Niseko, such as Park Hyatt in Hanazono, which was completed in 2019. 

Another aspect of Niseko's growth was driven by local realtors bringing awareness and new developments to the international markets, namely Mitsui Fudosan, Japan's largest real estate agency. Other global agencies have put their hat in the ring, and results have been spectacular, with property prices doubling since 2015! 

Ask us about our Niseko Concierge Service - where we offer access to Niseko property developments directly through homebuilders and realtor partners.

Demand has been driven by the usual suspects, affluent families in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, and China, but we are certainly seeing more demand from Europe and even North America – at least from our mortgage demand. 

An article by Japan Property Central on October, 3, 2022, they say "A 2.5-year closure to inbound travel hasn't slowed investment in Niseko's ski resort market with the Nikkei Shimbun reporting that the 'Aspen of Asia' has seen over 20 billion Yen (approx. US$138 million) in known real estate purchases by foreigners each year."

If you compare with other world-class ski resorts around the world, Niseko is also significantly more affordable, averaging approximately $9,000 per square meter vs Courcheval 1850 at $25,000 per square meter and Aspen at $24,000 per square meter! 

Meanwhile, let's not forget about the food! There are about 20 restaurants in Niseko with Michelin stars. Some well-known restaurants are Toya (2S), Kamimura (1S), Asperges (3S), Bistro Kutchan Sakuba (1S), Rakuichi Soba (Michelin recommendation), and many more. 

Opening-up

After an extended period of restrictions, in October 2022 the Japanese government lifted most of it pandemic-related restrictions. Tourists can now visit the country without a visa and are no longer required to go through a travel agency. There is also no cap on the daily number of foreign arrivals. According to the Japanese real estate agents, property transaction volumes have already climbed back to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

This would be an excellent time to take advantage of the pent-up demand for vacation especially area of the Autumn and Winter holiday season.

Affordability 

The Japanese Yen has weakened considerably against major currencies, dropping in the past few weeks to the lowest it has been against the US Dollar over the past 24 years, giving international buyers more purchasing power than before, especially Hong Kong buyers whose currency is pegged to the USD.  

GMG Niseko Mortgage

As an international financing specialist, GMG develops innovative loan programs for our clients globally. Our newly-launched Niseko loan program has been a year in the making! Finally, there are now financing options for Niseko properties for both onshore and non-resident borrowers, both Japanese citizens, and foreign nationals.   

Borrowers can obtain up to JPY 1 billion in financing with high 70% loan-to-values and long 20-year terms for the purchase or refinancing of investment properties with rates between 2-3% (indicative). For more information visit our Niseko Landing Page.

For anything Niseko-related, please contact Leonard Lee, MD of Business Development at leonard.lee@gmg.asia.