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Global Credit Research - 13 Sep 2010
Tokyo, September 13, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has changed to stable from negative its outlook
for Japan's real estate industry for the coming 12-18 months,
as announced in its latest report on the industry.
Moody's rating universe for the industry comprises five Japanese
real estate companies and 18 real estate trusts (J-REITs).
The change in outlook reflects Moody's view that Japan's economy
is now recovering gradually (following the contraction in 2009) and that
the real estate industry will bottom out soon.
Office vacancy rates in central Tokyo, which have been rising since
2008, are about to peak, and the pace of decline in asking
rents is slowing down.
Given a recovery in demand, any further significant deterioration
in the office leasing market is unlikely, although Moody's
considers it too early to expect a strong improvement in the market,
as the substantial office supply that will be available in 2011-2012
may prevent a rapid decline in vacancy rates.
The office leasing markets in cities outside the major metropolises are
also showing signs of bottoming, although demand in these regions
is recovering more slowly.
With regard to the retail property market, despite the tight job
market and stagnant wages, the decline in personal consumption and
retail sales seem to be touching bottom, although the competitiveness
gap for retail properties may further expand. Occupancy rates and
rents are improving in the residential leasing market.
The condo market had been devastated by a decline in demand stemming from
the deterioration in the economy, but tax incentives and low interest
rates have improved demand in metropolitan areas and helped stabilize
The number of transactions in the real estate investment market is low
because of the decline in real estate prices, but the influx of
investment money from overseas, especially from Asia, and
the improvement in both the lending market from financial institutions
and funding environment should gradually lead to growth in transactions.
Despite uncertainty over the pace of the economic recovery (due to the
slowdown in other developed countries and the strength of the yen),
Japan's economy is unlikely to experience another contraction over
the coming 12-18 months that would lead to further deterioration
in its real estate market.
Moody's has taken a number of negative rating actions on the major
rated Japanese real estate companies over the last year, as leverage
had risen significantly due to debt-funded investments during the
peak of the last real estate cycle in 2008. In addition,
the economic recession pressured the earnings of their office leasing
and condo sales businesses.
However, with market conditions stabilizing, future rating
actions will depend on how fast each issuer can restore its earnings and
Moody's has also taken a number of negative rating actions on its
rated J-REITs since 2008, not just because of aggressive,
debt-funded investments, which have raised leverage and pressured
leasing revenue (similarly to the major rated Japanese real estate companies),
but also because of the deterioration in the funding environment (due
to the financial crisis).
With the establishment of the Real Estate Stabilization Fund, money
flows to the J-REIT sector have improved gradually, and the
funding environment -- in the form of both public offerings and bond
issuance -- continues to improve, allowing issuers to expand
their assets. In addition, an increasing number of J-REITs
are trying to grow their portfolios through mergers or new investments,
and the flexibility of leverage management is increasing as a result of
asset sales and new stock issuance.
Thus, ratings will stabilize for those J-REITs that can improve
their revenues from the portfolios and their financials -- particularly
The report, "Industry Outlook: Japan's Real Estate Industry,"
is available at www.moodys.co.jp (in Japanese only).
Senior Vice President - Team Leader
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100
Senior Vice President - Team Leader
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
JOURNALISTS: (03) 5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: (03) 5408-4100
Moody's Japan K.K.
Moody's changes outlook for Japan real estate industry to stable
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
No Related Data.
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