This article on Japanese ski properties appears in the latest issue of Dot Property Magazine. Click here to download the special double issue.
America has Aspen and Vail. Europe has the Alps. All are lovely places, but not exactly convenient destinations for skiers in Asia. That fact led to the rise of Hokkaido as the region’s snowy retreat during the winter months. First there was Niseko, but now Kiroro has emerged as a prime location for Japanese ski properties.
Located on the north slopes of Mount Yoichi, Kiroro has become popular due to the fact it’s closer to both Sapporo and New Chitose International Airport than Niseko. Meanwhile, the skiing is just as good while a new property development is allowing real estate investors to own a home in this winter wonderland.
Yu Kiroro from Thai developer Property Perfect has been tailored to the needs of the modern lifestyle real estate investor. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic cooling real estate demand in some areas, the investment potential of Hokkaido combined with the unique opportunity presented by Yu Kiroro has seen interest in the development remain steady.
Japanese ski properties primed for long-term success
Demand for Japanese ski properties comes from skiers and lifestyle real estate investors based in Asia. Buyers come from Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore, all locations with direct flights available to Hokkaido’s New Chitose International Airport.
“Despite Covid-19, the demand is still there. However, there has been a slight slowdown in 2020 due to travel restriction. But we believe demand will come back after buyers can start to travel. We still received enquiries constantly during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Saranyu Adhyanasakul, Property Perfect Director of International Business Development, explains.
The creation of travel bubbles could help things get back to normal in the coming months. Japan has already began exploring travel bubble tourism opportunities with Thailand and Vietnam among other countries. Assuming everything goes according to plan, Hokkaido’s resorts will have skiers on the slopes this year.
Looking at the long-term picture, Japanese ski properties boast many positive features that will appeal to real estate investors.
“Demand in Japanese real estate still remains high, particularly for ski properties. The supply of these is relatively low compared to the increasing of demand from buyers in Asia. Also, there are not many premium alpine destination property in Asia,” Saranyu notes. “In term of return value, Japanese ski properties seem to provide the most attractive return in terms of capital gain and rental yields as well as holiday usage. Meanwhile, the supply in big cities like Tokyo is relatively large, while premium alpine destinations have much lower supply.”
Of course, there is much more to owning Japanese ski properties than the returns. For Asia’s lifestyle real estate investors, it is a chance to own something they love within a reasonable distance of their home.
“It is more than just an investment in terms of dollars for these buyers. Rather, it is an investment in terms of lifestyle that they pursue. Kiroro is much more than an investment opportunity; the Yu Kiroro residences offers buyers a luxury home in the heart of one of the world’s most remarkable alpine destinations,” Saranyu says. “Owners and their guests will enjoy an exceptional year-round destination with far less crowds, the world’s best ski powder and a more luxurious experience than other Asian alpine resorts.”
It is fairly common for those living in New York or Los Angeles to own a ski property in Vail or Aspen. The five- or six-hour flight means it’s possible to spend weekends or extended holidays there. Kiroro offers the same lifestyle and convenience for investors in Asia.
“Overall, we believe home ownership in Hokkaido is very appealing because it offers the best option for people who love Japan as a destination for living and vacationing in and who travel here often,” Saranyu states. “It makes sense for them to have second or vacation home for their future trips.”
Yu Kiroro redefines the ski lifestyle
For lifestyle real estate investors, Yu Kiroro ticks all the boxes. Not only is it part of the modern Kiroro resort on the mountain, but the development is equipped with ski-in ski-out access, the single most important feature for Japanese ski properties.
“Ski-in ski-out access is a premium feature, which is highly convenient and allows for the highest possible rental and upside gain,” Saranyu reports. “In addition to this, the expansion plan of the town or resort must be well-planned with continuous and substantial growth to forecast on future supply and demand. Yu Kiroro has considered both of these carefully.”
In fact, every last detail at Yu Kiroro has been carefully curated to ensure residents have the best possible experience. Leading design firm ILYA was entrusted with the design of the project. The company is known for melding Japanese craftsmanship with international experience and its hard work can be found throughout the development.
Additionally, the development lends itself to two, new travel trends that have emerged in Asia: the “new normal” and family travel.
“We see the trend where people are now looking for destinations that offer amenities and facilities for privacy, space, openness, wellness experiences, etc, which Kiroro is perfectly set up for,” Saranyu states. “We also see the trend of people wanting to spend time with old friends and family due to pent up demand generated by cancelled or postponed trips. Kiroro lends very well to that segment too, including from an investment perspective.”
Snow may be the star of Yu Kiroro, but unit owners have a wealth of services and amenities at their fingertips as well. This is something that separates it from other Japanese ski properties and ensures a residence at Yu Kiroro is a must own for Asia’s lifestyle real estate investors.
There is an indoor and outdoor onsen with waters from a local hot springs source within the resort. A family room and kids space allow parents to hit the slopes while the little ones enjoy fun activities. The Yu Kiroro Owner’s Club provides an exclusive retreat where owners can relax, socialize and enjoy a warm beverage.
And while winter will always be the main attraction, Kiroro is a year-round destination. The area offers five-star recreation activities that are readily available in the spring, summer and fall months. This is similar to how many leading ski resorts in Switzerland and Austria operate and will add value to investors both in terms of returns and lifestyle.
Yu Kiroro was completed last year and is part of the impressive Kiroro Resort. There are 104 units with 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom residences as well as a penthouse available. Each unit is fully furnished, and owners are provided with a wide range of premium services. Properties are sold on a freehold basis.
The Kiroro Resort was named as one of the top three Best Ski Resorts at the 7th annual World Ski Awards in 2019. The resort’s centrepiece is Gateway, Hokkaido’s first premium ski club and center with ski-in and ski-out access to shops, restaurants and a kids center.