The Oct. 10 issue of the weekly financial magazine Toyo Keizai lists the price earnings ratios (PER) of used properties in accordance with their closest railway stations in the Tokyo Metropolitan, Kinki, and Chubu regions. PER is more commonly used to determine the value of stocks. Toyo Keizai uses it to compare housing as an investment, specifically apartments that are bought to generate income in the form of rent. They use the formula PER = condo price / (monthly rent X 12).
PER is an important indicator since more and more people are investing in rental housing. A lower PER essentially means a better return on investment. What Toyo doesn’t mention, however, is that you have to rent the unit out to get any return, and renting isn’t as easy as it sounds.
What’s most interesting to me, since I’m a renter, is the way the PER shows the relationship between the price of an apartment in a given area and its presumed rental value. Kamakura, for instance, has a fairly high PER of 19. This means that properties are relatively expensive in Kamakura while rentals are relatively cheap; and it isn’t difficult to figure out why. Kamakura is a very popular place to live for people who don’t have to commute to Tokyo.