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Business

Taiwan investors flock to 'cooler' Tokyo properties

TOKYO -- Foreign investors are snapping up Japanese properties on the back of a weaker yen, and those from Taiwan, where the real estate market is heating up, have added incentive to buy.

     Huang Hsu-cheng, a 52-year-old Taiwanese entrepreneur, is busy taking his compatriots around Tokyo to inspect properties for potential investment.

     Huang, who runs a manufacturer of parts used in semiconductor-manufacturing equipment in Taiwan, practices what he preaches. Over the past few years, he has spent more than 1 billion yen ($8.28 million) on various Tokyo properties, including studio apartments and single-family homes. "Some of my properties have yields of nearly 10%," he said.

Time to buy

In 2014, Huang established Marushow Real Estate in Tachikawa, a city in western Tokyo. He has partnered with Japanese property development company Tosei to introduce attractive Japanese properties to investors from Taiwan, many of whom are business leaders with assets worth 5 billion yen to 10 billion yen.

     "Japanese property prices have continued to decline over the past two decades since the bubble burst. With the current weaker yen and the Tokyo Olympics ahead, now is the best time to buy," he said.

     Taiwanese investors are keen on properties in well-known areas, such as Roppongi, Ginza and Shibuya. "For Taiwanese investors, investing in Japan is also a way to raise their own profile," Huang said.

     Recently, however, property prices in Tokyo have started rising. As a result, investment yields have fallen to somewhere between 3% and 5%. Even so, Huang remains bullish. "Real estate is still relatively lower-priced in Tokyo," he said.

    It is the Taiwan property market that has him worried. "In Taiwan, investment has been overheating, pushing property prices too high. There are signs that the bubble will collapse," he warned. Taiwanese investors' rush to sell off holdings in their home market goes a long way to explaining their sudden appetite for properties in Tokyo.

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