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Land Prices in Tokyo 55 Times New York Level

May 30, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ Are mortgage payments getting you down? Take heart. It could be worse. You could live in Tokyo.

Tokyo residents pay 27 times as much as San Franciscans, 32 times as much as Los Angelenos and 55 times as much as some New Yorkers when they buy land for a house, according to a Japanese government survey.

As of January 1994, a square foot of land for housing in Tokyo cost an average of 560,000 yen _ about $510 at 1994 rates _ according to a survey released Monday by the National Land Agency.

By contrast, a square yard of housing land went for $45 in Honolulu, $19 in San Francisco and $16 in Los Angeles and $9 in New York. The New York figures, officials said, were taken only from Staten Island.

While prices have probably changed since 1994 _ Japanese land prices have fallen while the yen has risen against the dollar _ the figures illustrate the difficulty Japanese have in building homes.

Building a house and buying 2,200 square feet of land for it would cost a typical Tokyo resident about 13 years worth of paychecks. A New Yorker could get a larger plot and the house for about three years of work, said Ryo Yanagida, an official with the land agency.

Tokyo’s highly concentrated population and the lack of flat land in the mountainous Japanese archipelago help explain the high prices, Yanagida said.

Housing land in other Asian and European cities is also much more expensive than in the United States.

A square foot averaged $325 in Hong Kong, $175 in Seoul, South Korea, $40 in Frankfurt, Germany, $28 in London and $27 in Paris.

The survey was conducted in 30 cities across the world between December 1994 and March 1995. The land agency sent Japanese real estate experts to each city, Yanagida said.

Land for office buildings in commercial centers was also far more expensive in Asia than in the rest of the world. A square foot typically cost $16,500 in Tokyo, $6,500 in Hong Kong and $3,100 in Singapore.

By contrast, office land cost an average of $1,000 per square foot in New York, $1,675 in London, $1,950 in Paris and $2,900 in Frankfurt.

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