Tokyo's property market has been booming in recent years prior to the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, but Beijing, which will host the 2022 Winter Games, may go the opposite route.
While Japan has expanded fiscal spending and carried out aggressive monetary easing in an attempt to rejuvenate flagging domestic demand, the Chinese government has launched a series of measures to avoid the bursting of real estate bubbles at home.
As a prolonged trade dispute with the United States and unabated political unrest in Hong Kong have been blurring the outlook for the world's second-biggest economy, foreign investors might also cut their holdings of Chinese assets.
"China's property market is no longer an attractive investment destination," an executive of the Beijing branch of a Japanese trading house said.
In Tokyo, land prices had fallen since 2009, when the world economy, including Japan, suffered from the aftermath of the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of U.S. securities firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. the previous year.
After the Japanese capital was awarded the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2013, prices have increased for the seventh straight year, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government.
In 2019, the average price for land in all categories -- commercial, residential and industrial -- grew 4.1 percent from a year earlier as of July 1, after gaining 3.7 percent in 2018, the local authorities said.
Such a rise in property prices in Tokyo is "not a bubble but a transaction result reflecting real demand," said an official at Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.
Analysts say real estate prices in Tokyo have climbed due not only to a building rush before the quadrennial sports events but to ultra-low interest rates in Japan and construction work in the capital in the wake of a surge in foreign visitors to the nation.
Hiroo Ichikawa, a professor emeritus of urban planning at Meiji University in Tokyo, said in a report that land prices in the city would remain "on an upward trend" even after the end of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Without drastic changes in the economy, the number of foreign travelers to Japan is certain to continue increasing, and large-scale development in Tokyo is expected to draw more investment from abroad, Ichikawa added.
In Beijing, China has been stepping up preparations for the 2022 Winter Games. The government, led by the Communist Party, has accelerated efforts to invigorate the tourism industry and promote transportation, communications and sports infrastructure projects.
The Beijing events will be the last of three Olympics in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea's Pyeongchang and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The Chinese capital will also become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics.
"We hope the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics will heat up, encourage a lot of foreign people to visit our country, and provide a window of opportunity to improve our economy," a Chinese businessman living in Beijing said.
He added, "If real estate prices go up like the time when the Beijing Summer Olympics was held in 2008, I would have to buy an apartment for investment."
That year, prices for new condominiums in the center of Beijing skyrocketed around 50 percent from the previous year on average, and those for some apartments in good locations soared up to 200 percent, Chinese media reported.
The 2022 Olympics, however, is unlikely to bring the resurgence of such inflation, given that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been serious about normalizing the financial system and the real estate market.
Xi, who came to power in 2013, has moved ahead with structural reforms aimed especially at preventing sharp rises in asset prices in major cities, with the Communist Party pledging to take steps to curb speculative bets in the property market.
Since early 2019, new housing prices in Beijing have been on a downward trend, prompting some Chinese homeowners to urge the government to implement measures to shore up residential sales.
Also, China's economy grew at its slowest pace since 1992, when quarterly gross domestic product data became available, increasing 6.0 percent on-year during the July-September period.
The nation's economy expanded more than 10 percent in 2007, but it has been shrinking recently as a tit-for-tat tariff war with the United States has dragged down exports, a key driver of economic growth, in turn hurting corporate performance and investment.
As the Hong Kong economy has been facing a recession with months-long pro-democracy protests escalating, the city could lose its status as an international financial hub, which would also erode direct investment to China.
Landlords in Beijing, meanwhile, are set to jack up apartment rents on the occasion of the 2022 Olympics, as more foreigners are expected to visit the city, boosting demand for accommodations, including hotels.
Around the 2008 Olympics, a serviced apartment complex charged its tenants roughly "10 times more than usual," said Hiroyuki Sakatsume, vice general manager at Beijing New Century Real Estate Agency Co.
"At that time in Beijing, a room apartment spiked from about 20,000 yuan ($2,860) to 150,000-200,000 yuan a month. The possibility cannot be ruled out that something similar will happen before and during the 2022 Olympics," Sakatsume added.