Commercial land prices outside major metropolitan areas rose in 2017 for the first time in 26 years, registering a 0.5 percent year-on-year increase, thanks largely to redevelopment projects and hotel construction, government data showed Tuesday. As of Jan. 1 of this year, regional land prices, which also includes residential land values, rose a marginal 0.04 percent from a year before, according to the annual survey by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism that covers 26,000 locations nationwide. But 52 percent of regional locations sampled for the survey logged price declines, indicating a widening gap between urban and rural areas, the ministry said. Redevelopment and construction of hotels targeted at growing numbers of foreign visitors have helped boost regional commercial land prices, mostly in the four major regional cities of Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, which saw an average year-on-year price increase of 7.9 percent. Regional residential land prices fell 0.1 percent, compared to a 0.4 percent drop a year earlier, as improved employment and recovering demand for land in convenient locations -- on the back of low interest rates -- helped slow the pace of decline, the report showed.
Car insurance price cuts are slowing down but drivers are still benefiting from falls of 8.5% in the past year, new analysis from insurance data analytics firm Consumer Intelligence shows. Its data shows average car insurance bills dropped to £757 with telematics – which rewards customers who drive more safely by making a major contribution to keeping costs under control. There are signs, however, that premiums are starting to edge up – average prices rose 0.3% in the past three months for all drivers and by 1.3% for the over-50s. Bills across the market are 20.6% higher than five years ago when Consumer Intelligence first started collecting data. Premiums are still falling for the under-25s and they can expect quotes 14.7% lower than last year although they pay the highest bills at £1,544.
Land prices in Japan as of Jan. 1 rose an average 0.2 percent from a year earlier, marking the first gain since 2008, according to the National Tax Agency's annual report released Friday. Investment in the real estate market grew, owing to the inflow of overseas money, the Bank of Japan's monetary stimulus measures and higher stock prices, while housing markets in major cities benefited from low borrowing costs. Of the country's 47 prefectures, land prices rose in 14, up four from a year earlier, according to the survey that covered some 328,000 locations nationwide. By prefecture, the sharpest rise of 2.9 percent was logged in Tokyo, the host of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. That was followed by increases of 2.5 percent in Miyagi and 2.3 percent in Fukushima, two prefectures in northeastern Japan where reconstruction continues from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Southern California home prices continued to outpace the national average, and many major cities, said the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. Prices nationally, adjusted for seasonal variation, rose 5.2 percent in the 12 months ended in March, with the Pacific Northwest and West seeing the biggest gains. San Diego County's median home price increased 6.2 percent, lower than the 6.4 percent increase in February and 6.9 percent in January. Los Angeles and Orange counties were up 6.5 percent, down from 6.8 percent in February and 6.9 percent in January. Portland had the biggest gains at 12.3 percent, followed by Seattle at 10.8 percent and Denver at 10 percent.