In May, The Real Estate Information Institute released the results of its Survey of Brokerage Performance of Major Real Estate Brokerage Firms in 2021 survey. 

The survey was conducted by issuing a questionnaire that was sent industry wide with responses received from 21 large real estate companies.

Of the companies surveyed, all companies increased their brokerage commission income.  In particular, Sotetsu Real Estate Sales and Keio Real Estate whose year on year performances increased 47{4e908c29df01d999f087e4f922633998e2ded1c72f05851cd6252034960daee5} and 40.6{4e908c29df01d999f087e4f922633998e2ded1c72f05851cd6252034960daee5} respectively when compared to the previous year.  

In addition, four other companies increased revenue by 30{4e908c29df01d999f087e4f922633998e2ded1c72f05851cd6252034960daee5} or more, and six companies increased by 20{4e908c29df01d999f087e4f922633998e2ded1c72f05851cd6252034960daee5} or more, bringing the total number of companies with double-digit growth to 18 firms out of the 21 surveyed.

Notes on the above data

Mitsui Fudosan Realty Group’s brokerage revenue includes sales brokerage, rental brokerage, and property management revenue. 

Brokerage revenue for Sumitomo Real Estate Sales includes rental brokerage. 

Tokyu Livable brokerage income includes rental brokerage and leasing-related revenues. 

Figures for Tokyo Tatemono Real Estate Sales and Sumitomo Forestry Home Service are until December of 2021 as this is their end of fiscal year; all others are until the end of March of 2022 as this is typical end of fiscal for Japanese companies.

In 2020, many companies were forced to suspend operations due to the state of emergency declared after the onset of the pandemic, and many did not perform well.  

In 2021 however, many companies achieved record revenue performance.  

The top brokerage firm, Mitsui Fudosan Realty Group, posted record-high commission income and the third best performance in company history in terms of the number of transactions executed. 

According to the company, double-digit growth in the number of retail transactions in the Greater Tokyo Area, particularly in the central Tokyo area, led the overall business.   

The average unit price of retail transactions rose 15{4e908c29df01d999f087e4f922633998e2ded1c72f05851cd6252034960daee5} on a nationwide basis compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic, and the increase in the number of transactions was directly linked to the increase in commission income, according to comments from Mitsui Fudosan Realty Group.

Tokyu Livable posted the second highest amount of commission income for the first time ever, with record performance in both retail and wholesale trades thanks to strong sales.  Sumitomo Real Estate Sales also posted a record high number of transactions, mainly second hand condominium transactions.  

Nomura Real Estate Solutions also recorded record high performance.

Many of the companies commented that the impact of the pandemic was more limited than in 2020, and that both retail and wholesale sales were performing well. 

In the retail sector, “Buying response was stronger than last year, and it was a year of inventory clearance” (Kintetsu Real Estate), “High buying needs continued among both end-users and operators, resulting in higher contract prices” (Odakyu Real Estate), and “Home buying needs increased due to voluntary restraint from going out and the adoption of telecommuting, which, combined with the low interest rate policy, led to steady sales” (Taisei Yuraku Real Estate Sales Group). 

The common complaint of all companies was the lack of properties for sale.  Many companies expressed concern that “the market as a whole has few properties for sale, making matching [buyers to sellers] difficult,” (Mitsubishi Jisho Real Estate Service), “Property prices have risen as the number of properties for sale on the market has remained low,” (Sumitomo Forestry Home Service), and “Competition for sales contracts has intensified,” (Odakyu Real Estate).

However, there are some recent signs that the tide is turning.  For the third consecutive month from February to April, the number of second hand condominiums for sale on the Real Estate Information Network for East Japan (REINS) system increased from the same time frame in 2020 to 2021. 

In addition, Mitsui Fudosan Realty Group said that the volume sales information began to increase around the beginning of the year, while the volume of information regarding purchases has started to decline slightly.

Some companies said they are sensing a slight slowdown as consumers are unable to keep up with soaring prices.  With prices for new condominiums continuing to rise, common thought in the industry is that sales prices will remain high for the time being, but more are becoming increasingly cautious with an eye on entering a price adjustment, or correction, phase.

Further Reading

R.E. Port article outlining the survey results (Japanese only; May, 2022)


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