Large-scale developments drive growth trajectory of Niseko tourism


Having attracted growing interest from both overseas and Japanese large-scale investors, soaring property prices in Japan’s Niseko has led to the emergence of a new tourism storyline with numerous luxury hospitality resorts coming soon to the alpine resort destination.

Besides the soon-to-open Park Hyatt Hanazono, the incoming development pipeline includes the ultra-luxury Aman in Moiwa, Ritz-Carlton Niseko Village and Pavilions Hirafu, according to C9 Hotelworks’ new Niseko Tourism and Property Market Review.

Niseko in Japan

Research into the alpine real estate sector this past high season by C9 revealed that pre-sales of condominiums topped US$1.3 billion and house and/or land plots edged close to a quarter of a billion US dollars. One clear sign of the times is a new entry from top Singapore property group SC Global with their mixed-use Setsu project on the main street of Hirafu.

Shifting tourism demand is demonstrated in a three-year CAGR of 13 per cent for mainland Chinese, with direct flights to the gateway New Chitose airport numbering eight. Overall, the key airlift metric has seen the introduction of new international routes to Taiwan, Russia, Finland and the Philippines.

Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks, said: “Emerging regional buyers from Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia reflect the new Niseko reality. Meanwhile, domestic buyers, especially from outside Hokkaido, are targeting investments in hotel branded projects and family-friendly properties. We are seeing Hirafu’s spillover demand radiate to peripheral areas including Higashiyama, Annupuri and Hanazono, while broader alpine real estate development is spreading to farther away areas such as Furano.”

He added: “Niesko has become Asia’s fastest appreciating resort real estate markets. We are seeing premium pricing levels in prime projects attain levels of US$15-20,000 per square metre. Alpine property is becoming more of an object of desire for high-net-worth Asians versus the legacy tropical pool villa asset class.”

Moving towards 2020, C9’s forecast sees larger new hotel-type projects coming into the pipeline in areas such as Hirafu, Hanazono and Moiwa. In a growing sign of market maturation, the large legacy of real estate condominium properties and stand-alone chalets looks to be challenged by bigger year-around full-service hotels.

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