How to determine whether to buy or not to buy an existing tower block | FRIDAY DIGITAL

How to determine whether to buy or not to buy an existing tower block

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

New and used condominiums in the Tokyo metropolitan area continue to soar in price

Tower condominiums (hereafter referred to as “townhomes”) with a height of 20 or more stories are reportedly selling like hotcakes, even with the Corona disaster. Some of you may have thought, “I can’t afford a new condominium, but I can afford a second-hand tower condominium.

If you were to buy an existing tower condominium today, what factors should you look for in selecting one? We asked housing journalist Junji Sakaki.

He said, “Whether you are looking for an ordinary used condominium or a used townhouse, the most important thing is the location. In the Yamanote Line area of central Tokyo, there are very few in Bunkyo Ward, but there are plenty in Minato Ward, and in the bay area of Koto Ward, there are only tower condominiums.

The reason for this bias is that it is extremely difficult to build a tower block under normal regulations, so the government loosens the restrictions and allows them to be built. That is why some governments do not allow the construction of townhouses, such as in Suginami Ward, Kyoto City, Kobe City (near Sannomiya), and Kamakura City (near Kamakura Station),” said Mr. Kurokawa.

The average price per used condominium unit in the Tokyo metropolitan area in March 2022 was 37.05 million yen, up 1.1% from the previous month. The price was the highest since January 2017 in seven areas, including Tokyo (23 wards/downtown) and Kanagawa Prefecture (Yokohama City and others) (from data released by At Home, Inc. on April 26, 2022).

The asset value of tawamans in front of local Shinkansen stations…

Conversely, if the government wants to build a townhouse, developers will build townhouses anywhere, which is an unexpected pitfall.

Towamans in any location will sell if they are newly built. Even a townhouse in the middle of rice paddies in Yamagata Prefecture will sell.

For example, the RIVIO Tower Hazawa Yokohama Kokuritsu Daigaku (Yokohama National University) was built to accommodate the relocation of the Yokohama National University campus to a new station, but there is not even a single convenience store in front of the station.

There is always a tower apartment in front of a Shinkansen station in the provinces, but there is not even a single convenience store in front of the station. Even if they are sold at the same price as those in Tokyo near stations like Kodama, they usually sell well. However, even if a new building sells, it is almost worthless if it is 20 years old.

I wonder who would buy a townhouse in the rice paddies. ……

The people who buy townhouses in rural areas are local prominent figures and medical practitioners.

They buy a townhouse as a transit point, stay one night, and go back to Tokyo the next morning. Local prominent figures don’t live there, but use it as a source of bragging rights at cabaret clubs, saying, “I have one there.

In the first place, towers were basically bought by vain people. When I was an advertiser, I made a lot of ads for condominiums, and when I went to an orientation held by a developer in Makuhari, the top of the handout said, ‘It’s the vain who buy Tawamans’ (laughs).

Both new and used condominiums in the Tokyo metropolitan area are at an all-time high! The popular “Harumi Flag” is a 17-22 minute walk from the nearest station…

The bay area of Koto-ku, which is popular among the general public…

Incidentally, the area that tickles the vanity of the vain is Aoyama, but at 10 million yen per tsubo, it is not a property that the average person can afford, so the average person targets the bay area of Koto-ku.

However, the price per tsubo is not affordable to the average person, so the general public targets the bay area of Koto-ku, he says. “People who buy second-hand condominiums almost always do so to live in them, but it is important to note that tower blocks built in places where there is no need to build them have low asset value.

In Tokyo, the bay area in Koto-ku is exactly like this, and although it is somewhat in the limelight now as an Olympic area, many properties are far from stations, and it is not a pleasant town to walk around.

He pointed out that the Wangan area’s townhouses are sold with “added value” to areas where property values are normally low.

Towers in the bay area are marketed as “resorts” with swimming pools, large baths, barbecue gardens, and so on. However, the pools may be used for the first 10 years, but eventually no one will use them. The public baths are also used by only a limited number of people. In the first place, a vain person, especially a woman, who lives in a townhouse, would not go to a large public bath in a neighborhood full of neighbors.

It is said that the maintenance cost of a “water feature” such as a large bathroom or swimming pool is approximately 30 to 40 million yen per year. Therefore, those who use the bathhouse or pool every day can get a good return on their investment, but unless they do so, they will only pay the maintenance costs.

Other properties that should not be bought are those that are more than an 11-minute walk from the station.

When you are looking for a place to live, you are looking for a place within 10 minutes, not 15 minutes,” he said. For example, there are many properties within 10 minutes of Toyosu Station, so a property that is more than an 11-minute walk would be a non-starter.

Moreover, apartments with a lot of unnecessary common facilities are very expensive in terms of management fees and reserve for repairs.

Furthermore, in the bay area, a condominium that is a 14-15 minute walk from the station is considered a zero-minute walk from the time you walk out the door, take the elevator, and exit the property, so in effect it takes more than 20 minutes to get to the station platform.

Incidentally, four or five years ago, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s guideline for condominium management fees and reserve for repairs was 200 yen per square meter for both (400 yen per square meter for both combined). Now, however, labor and construction costs have risen, and the cost per square meter for an ordinary condominium is about 300 yen (600 yen per square meter combined), while the cost per square meter for a tower block with a swimming pool is about 400 yen (800 yen per square meter combined).

The problem is not only that they are expensive, but also that when a condominium owner wants to raise the maintenance fee or repair reserve fund, he or she has to hold a general meeting to decide, and it is basically difficult to pass a proposal for a raise. So if the management association finds it difficult to maintain the pool, they cannot raise the price.

The Condominium Ownership Law allows for a change of use of common facilities, but it is called a “special resolution” and requires a three-fourths resolution. Then, you can’t realistically change the use of the facility, and you end up with a facility that is just not used, with no water in the pool.”

Pointing out that there are many unknowns in living there for many years.

In addition, there are structural problems with townhouses, Sakaki points out.

The frame of an ordinary condominium of about eight stories is basically reinforced concrete, with columns and walls made of reinforced concrete,” he said.

But since townhouses are built high, ALC panels are used on the exterior walls to reduce the load. Drywall is used for the walls bordering neighboring units (unit boundary walls). This is a wall with sound insulation and heat insulating materials sandwiched between gypsum board, so you can hear the sound of your neighbors.

Besides, it is very easy and the construction period is short because all the exterior walls are made in a factory and brought to the house and fitted together. In addition, the joints of the ALC panels used for the exterior walls are treated with caulking material, which deteriorates when exposed to wind and rain, so it is said that if the old caulking material is not removed and replaced about once every 15 years, the walls will leak.

However, this is just an assumption. The reason is that the first townhouses were built after the Building Standard Law was revised in 1997, and those built around 2005 in the bay area are now reaching the stage where they are in need of major repairs. However, it is also true that there are many unknowns when it comes to living there for many years.

So, are there any advantages of second-hand Tawamans other than “the view”? ……

No. There is the advantage of the view. Then there is the advantage of the common facilities, as long as people continue to use them. If the power goes out due to an earthquake, a tower block planned after 3.11 can operate for 72 hours with its own power generation system. However, since townhouses always sway slightly due to wind and other factors, there are a certain number of people who get sick and move out right away.

One of the properties that Junji Sakaki, who is anti-Towaman, recommends is Brillia Tower Ikebukuro. The reason for this…

Anti-Towaman housing journalist Junji Sakaki recommends…

What property would you recommend? When asked, “Brillia Tower Ikebukuro,” he responded as follows.

Brillia Tower Ikebukuro, which was sold in 2015, houses the Toshima Ward Office, which is not only convenient, but is also the first to recover in the event of a disaster.

The presence of the ward office will not diminish the value of the property, and when it is rebuilt in 50 or 60 years, the ward office will provide funds for the rebuilding.

Also, Brillia Tower Meguro is a minute or two walk from the station, so the property value almost never decreases. Then there’s Kachidoki View Tower, which is directly connected to Kachidoki Station, so that makes it special.”

  • Interview and text by Wakako Tago

    Born in 1973. After working for a publishing company and an advertising production company, became a freelance writer. In addition to interviewing actors and others for weekly and monthly magazines, she writes drama columns for various media. His main publications include "All Important Things Are Taught by Morning Drama" (Ota Publishing), "KinKiKids: Owarinaki Michi" and "Hey!Say!JUMP: When 9 Tobira Open" (both from Earls Publishing).

Photo Gallery5 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles