Is Your Condominium Safe?! The Future of the “Condominium Price Collapse” Coming Due to the IRS’s “Tawaman Tax-saving” Measures. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Is Your Condominium Safe?! The Future of the “Condominium Price Collapse” Coming Due to the IRS’s “Tawaman Tax-saving” Measures.

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In recent years, condominium prices have continued to soar, much like a bubble economy. However, this trend has begun to show signs of slowing down.

Condominium prices, which have been rising steadily, have reached a major turning point.

The reason for this is the “Tax Reform Proposal for Reiwa 2023,” which was announced at the end of last year. As a result, the National Tax Agency has announced that it will review the calculation method of inheritance tax on condominiums as early as next January.

Inheritance tax and condominium prices. At first glance, these two seem unrelated, but in fact they are closely related. The key word is “Tawaman tax-saving,” a tax-saving method used by the wealthy. When one inherits a condominium unit with a large number of units, such as a townhouse, the tax burden can be significantly reduced compared to that of a single-family home. This is one of the reasons why high-rise condominiums are often purchased by wealthy individuals to reduce taxes on inheritances and gifts, and is one of the reasons for the rise in real estate prices.

The IRS has decided to contain this tax saving on townhouses. So how much will the new inheritance tax calculation method increase inheritance taxes for owners of tawamans? For example, in the case of a townhouse in Tokyo with a market value of 119 million yen, the assessed value of the property under the current system is only 37.2 million yen, but under the new system, the assessed value is 71.42 million yen. In the case of a single child, the inheritance tax would be 120,000 yen under the current system, but 5,080,000 yen under the new system. This is an increase of about 5 million yen at once. (The market value of the condominium in question was researched by the National Tax Administration Agency.)

From the standpoint of tax fairness, it is probably a good thing that the tax reductions on condominiums are being blocked. However, this new taxation system is not just a matter of concern to the general public. It is the collapse of condominium prices. The tax reduction will cause a drop in the price of condominiums, which in turn will affect the price of condominiums in general. Housing journalist Junji Sakaki explains.

It is said that 20-30% of the units in newly built townhouses in central Tokyo are bought for inheritance tax purposes. The blocking of tax-saving measures in tawamans will slow down this demand considerably.

In addition, if there are other good tax-saving measures, such as moving assets overseas, there may be a trend for asset owners to sell their townhouses. This could have a negative impact on tawamans prices. And if the prices of tawamans, which drive the condominium market, go down, other condominiums will be affected as well.”

Harumi Flag attracted a lot of attention when it was used as an athletes’ village during the Tokyo Olympics. Due to its popularity, construction of a new 50-story high-rise condominium is underway, scheduled for completion in 2025.

According to a survey by the Real Estate Economic Institute, the average sales price per newly built condominium unit in the Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba) in May was 80.68 million yen. This is up more than 30% from the same month last year. Condominium prices are overheated at the moment, but the containment of tax breaks on townhouses may be the key to a change in trend.

The impact on market prices will likely not be seen until the fall at the earliest, but once they start to fall, sales are likely to continue and the decline will be unstoppable.

Many people who buy condominiums often think that it is more profitable to buy a condominium as an asset than to pay rent, but it is likely that more and more cases will face a disastrous future. Mr. Sakaki continues.

If you have to sell your condominium for various reasons, you run the risk of being saddled with debt. The most common example of this is a ‘pair loan.’ Since today’s condominiums are very expensive, couples often combine their incomes and take out a pair loan, but this is a big problem if they get divorced.

Since they cannot live together, they usually end up selling the property, but if they can only sell it for less than the balance of the loan, the condominium is gone and they are left with nothing but debt.

Furthermore, it would not be surprising if the Bank of Japan raises the policy interest rate at any time. If interest rates are raised, those with variable-rate mortgages will see their monthly repayments increase. In fact, in the United Kingdom, where the policy rate continues to rise (currently 5%), the cost of mortgage repayments as a percentage of income is about 50%, meaning that half of one’s income is used to repay the loan, a dire situation.

Not only wealthy people but also the general public need to keep a close eye on the future of tax reductions on tawanyama (townhouses).

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