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Japan Ends Era of Easy Money: Impact on Yen, Property, and Economy

Author: Jo Lodder JNW Properties Ltd

In a historic move, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years and abolished its yield curve control policy. This signals a potential turning point for the Japanese economy and financial markets, sparking a wave of questions and analysis.

In a historic move, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years!

Impact on FX (JPY/USD):

  • A stronger yen is on the horizon: The interest rate hike makes holding yen more attractive for investors, potentially leading to an appreciation of the yen against the US dollar (JPY/USD). This could make Japanese exports more expensive but imports cheaper. However, by how much will the yen strengthen? Will it be sustained? These are questions currency traders are grappling with.

A graph showing the yen at a 10 year low
YEN is at a 20 year low at the moment and is sure to strengthen!

Impact on Property Prices:

  • Cooling down the market? Higher interest rates generally make borrowing more expensive, which could put a damper on Japan's property market. This might be welcome news for those looking to buy a home, but could impact investors and developers who rely on easy credit. The question remains: how significant will this impact be, and will it create buying opportunities?

Property in Japan with beautiful gardens

Impact on the Japanese Economy:

  • A delicate balancing act: The BOJ aims to combat inflation with the rate hike while encouraging sustainable economic growth. Higher interest rates can curb inflation but might also slow down economic activity. Experts are debating the effectiveness of this approach. Will it be enough to tame inflation without stalling growth?

Wage growth, a silver lining for the people of Japan!
The iconic Tokyo rush hour crossing

  • Wage growth, a silver lining? The BOJ's decision reflects signs of rising wages in Japan, a positive development for consumer spending and overall economic health. But will wage growth keep pace with inflation, boosting purchasing power, or will it be outpaced, squeezing household budgets?

What does this mean for foreign investors looking to invest in Japan?

The end of negative rates and potential currency appreciation might make Japanese investments more attractive. However, foreign investors will also need to consider the potential dampening effect on the property market and the broader economic uncertainties. Will the benefits outweigh the risks?

The Japaanese Zen Gardens of Raku Ichi Residences in Niseko
Raku Ichi Residences in Niseko

Impact on Niseko Ski Properties:

The case of Niseko is particularly interesting. Unlike many other Japanese property markets, Niseko relies less on mortgage borrowing for development due to strong international investor demand. This could make the area somewhat more insulated from the potential cooling effect of higher interest rates.

  • Stronger demand, stronger yen? A strengthened yen could theoretically make Niseko properties more expensive for foreign investors. However, the continued rise in global demand for ski properties, particularly in Asia, might outweigh this currency effect. Investors looking for a hedge against inflation and a vacation property with strong rental potential could see Niseko as an even more attractive option especially if investing now which could make great investment sense by getting in before the yen strengthens. 

Overall, this is a significant shift in Japan's monetary policy. The coming months will reveal how the markets and economy react to the end of negative rates and the altered financial landscape. This is a situation ripe for discussion and analysis by economists and market observers. Niseko, with its unique market dynamics, will be an interesting case study to watch.


Jo Lodder is a leading figure in the property industry, serving as the co-founder of JNW Properties Ltd, a dynamic property marketing firm specializing in Niseko projects. His entrepreneurial drive is underscored by notable accomplishments, notably becoming the first individual to conquer the challenging HK5Trails. Complementing his business acumen, Jo is also an avid sustainability practitioner, leveraging his expertise to champion eco-conscious practices within the property sector. Additionally, through his philanthropic endeavours with Action Asia Foundation, he demonstrates a commitment to making a tangible impact, particularly in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities in Hong Kong.

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