The real estate information magazine At Home has released the results of a survey it conducted in December among 600 people who are looking for rental apartments in Tokyo’s 23 wards. The main purpose of the survey is to find out how much people compromised when selecting an apartment, the idea being that, especially for young persons, there is no such thing as an ideal affordable apartment in Tokyo, so which criteria were respondents most willing to compromise on and which ones were they totally unwilling to compromise on? They were not allowed to say rental amount, size of apartment or surrounding environment, probably because everyone compromises on those three.
The number one answer (30.3 percent) in terms of what they would compromise on was distance from the nearest train station, which tends to be the most reliable criterion in Tokyo for determining cost of a rental. The second most common answer was age of the apartment. However, when it came to criteria they wouldn’t compromise on — for this question respondents were allowed to give multiple answers — the number one answer, once again, was distance from station (72.2 percent), with separate bath and toilet and higher than second floor tied for second place. The third answer was age of apartment. When asked what upper limit they would settle for in terms of distance from the nearest train station, 39.1 percent said between ten and fifteen minutes and 31.8 percent said between five and ten minutes.
Nevertheless, the main criterion for compromise is always the price of rent. Among the single persons surveyed (average age 31; average salary ¥5 million) the average rent they were “looking for” was ¥89,000 a month, but for the apartment sizes they desired the average rent in realistic terms was calculated by At Home to be about ¥128,000. For married respondents (average age 33; average salary of householder ¥7.4 million) the difference between what they want to pay and what they would realistically pay was about the same, ¥39,000. That would seem to represent the perception gap regardless of income bracket.
At Home concluded that 40 percent of people looking for an apartment in Tokyo “have to compromise even before they start looking,” and when asked if they thought that life was all about compromise, 60 percent answered “yes.”