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Grosvenor to Raise $492 Million to Invest in Japan Properties

Grosvenor Group Ltd., the real estate firm owned by the family trust of Britain’s Duke of Westminster, plans to raise 40 billion yen ($492 million) for a fund to invest in Japanese properties as the market recovers.

Grosvenor, with about $17 billion in assets, plans to invest in office buildings and apartments in the greater Tokyo area, said Ken Nakajima, Tokyo-based managing director at Grosvenor Fund Management Japan Ltd. The new fund will finance about half of the assets with loans, a ratio that will allow it to buy as much as 100 billion yen of properties, he said.

Investors have started to look at Japan again as a recovery is emerging in the real estate market. Tokyo was ranked the first in real estate transactions in the past 12 months with $28 billion, followed by Shanghai and Singapore, according to data compiled from New York-based Real Capital Analytics Inc.

“Investors have started to show interests,” said Ken Nakajima, managing director at Grosvenor. “Japan remains attractive with its stability among its Asian counter parts.”

Shanghai, the financial center of China where January home prices fell for four straight months, said last week it’s maintaining the city’s housing curbs. Singapore, where fourth-quarter housing values posted the smallest gain in 2 1/2 years, introduced new taxes in December aimed at foreign buyers.

In Japan, the number of sites where land values were unchanged or increased in the last three months outnumbered spots that fell for the first time in 3 1/2 years, helped by recovering demand around the Tokyo Bay area, according a land ministry survey on 150 locations released this month.

Nakajima declined to elaborate on how much return the fund will generate as that has not been finalized. London-based Grosvenor plans to start buying properties as early as September for the fund, which will have an investment period of five to seven years, he said.

The Duke of Westminster, whose name is Gerald Grosvenor, has a net worth of $13 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

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