September 12, 2005

Investors find plenty to love about hotels

Mr Donazzan's company finalised the purchase of a ski field in Hokkaido last year that has become an instant destination for Australian skiers. This week he said that the company was planning the first $70 million phase of a seven-stage redevelopment. Building would start by 2007, he said.

Roger Griffin, the Tokyo vice-president of the real estate investment banking firm Sonnenblick-Goldman Company, advised on Mr Donazzan's ski resort purchase and says that it is part of a wider picture.

"There is a dramatic transfer of investment from the corporate sector to the financial and savings sector," Mr Griffin said.

Japan's biggest companies have changed. They are over the real estate kleptomania that gripped them during the years of the bubble economy and, under pressure from banks to straighten out their finances, are selling the irrelevant and non-performing parts of their empires.

Many of the golf courses, hotels and spa resorts sold in the past seven years have come from companies that, in the good old days, maintained them as decorative baubles or for company use.

Another attraction for foreign investors has been a halving of real estate prices in Tokyo since 1995.

Investment banks and asset managers including the global giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs predict a healthy future for investment in Japanese real estate and are investing heavily.

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