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Mainlanders buying 50% of new condos

Date Posted: 2006-11-25

The real estate boom is well established, and Naha City’s Omoromachi area is reaping big benefits.

Condominiums dot the skyline, with new construction still under way. Omoromachi, which calls itself Naha’s new heart of the city, sits on a hill, offering panoramic views of the ocean beaches and towns in every direction. The average price of a new condominium is running Y160,000,000 and more.

In September, 40 condominiums were sold, with more than half going to mainland Japanese. “Today, the main selling points are view and security,” says a realtor. “Without the view and good security, people don’t buy anymore. Every condo has auto locks and sensors, and at night there are security guards watching.” He adds that many condominiums now integrate security features even in elevators.

Okinawans are purchasing the new condominiums primarily as residences. Mainlanders are, in most cases, using the Okinawa condos as investment rental units, or as second homes. The Omoromachi area population, now 16,560, has doubled in the past four years. City officials say the population increase is projected to continue strong. The housing shortage in the area is severe; officials report there are no rentals even available now.

Local residents are both ambivalent and irritated by the new growth. For those looking for jobs, they say the opportunities are few in the new condominium complexes. “I don’t feel like I’m winning at life,” said one. “I wonder if any of those skyscraper residents can hire me? I can do anything. Driving, gardening, cooking.”

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