Goldman Sachs is to buy upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co's flagship store in Tokyo for about 37 billion yen ($318 million), a sign that Japan's hot property market is shrugging off global credit concerns.
A financial source close to the matter told Reuters that Goldman won a bid to buy the Tiffany shop in Tokyo's prime Ginza shopping district for 180 million yen per tsubo, a Japanese measurement equivalent to 3.3 square meters.
That is 78 percent above Yamano Music Co's main store nearby, which carried the highest official price of 100.98 million yen per tsubo as of January.
I do think it's expensive. I think it was priced this way because Tiffany is a tenant, said Morgan Stanley analyst Tomoyoshi Omuro. I'm not sure if they could sell at that price once Tiffany leaves.
Omuro said Japan's property market, especially in the Tokyo area, remains tight.
Land prices jumped 17 percent last year in the biggest increase by far since Japan's bubble years. In the capital's fashionable Ginza district, the home of upscale department stores and luxury brands, average prices jumped by a third.
Tiffany bought the land and building in Ginza for 16.5 billion yen in 2003, the source said.
Both Goldman and Tiffany's Tokyo office declined to comment.
Global credit concerns triggered by a U.S. subprime mortgage crisis have cast a pall over the property market globally, but Japan and Asia remain attractive to investors.
UBS said in a report on Friday that fund inflow into the Japanese real estate market was set to continue.
As securitization of real estate has made progress, the liquidity of real estate has increased, leading to improved recognition by investors of real estate as an asset class and by an increasing number of investors who are expanding the weighting of real estate in their asset portfolios, UBS analyst Toshihiko Okino said.
We expect this trend to continue at least over the next year or two.