Japanese Disinvest in US Real Estate

JAPANESE investors who spent $77.3 billion on real estate in the United States since the early 1980s will have sold or diluted their ownership of 40 percent of it by year-end, an accounting firm tracking the trend says.

Japanese who poured huge sums into everything from hotels and golf courses to office buildings and housing tracts are selling or financially restructuring $17.6 billion, or 23 percent of that total, Kenneth Leventhal & Co. said April 18 in its annual appraisal of Japanese investment.

The director of Leventhal's Pacific Rim practice, Jack Rodman, said another $12 billion to $17 billion of property is likely to be sold or restructured this year, bringing the total to 40 percent of Japanese-owned US real estate.

New investment by the Japanese fell to just $705 million last year, down 96 percent from a high of $16.5 billion in 1988.

``Most of the money in that $705 million went into shoring up ... existing projects,'' Mr. Rodman said. He estimated that the typical value of US real estate purchased by the Japanese during the boom years has fallen to 50 cents on the dollar.

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