Fri, Oct 31, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Property market rebounds

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Far Glory Group (遠雄集團) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) yesterday told visiting members of Beijing-based China National Real Estate Development Group (中房集團) that "now is the best time to invest in the nation's real-estate market."

"The local property market has bottomed out after a 13-year recession, while the government has planned to push forward many urban-renovation projects within the next five to 10 years," Chao said, sitting next to Meng Xiaosu (孟曉蘇), chairman and CEO of China National Real Estate, at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

The momentum in the property market is sure to grow stronger in the next 10 years, Chao added.

Taiwan's real-estate market had been in a slump for a decade but has started to see signs of recovery this year. Yesterday, the Legislatuive Yuan passed the first-reading of the amendments to the Land Law (土地法) to allow the Land Value Incremental Tax rate to be reduced in a bid to spur the dormant real estate market.

Under the new amendment, the current tax levels of 60 percent, 50 percent and 40 percent would be reduced to 40 percent, 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The new tax scheme is expected to take effect in February.

Asked about his outlook for Taiwan's real-estate sector, Meng said Taiwan will focus on renovating many of its cities, which may present many commercial opportunities in the future.

But the Chinese property developer said it needs more time to explore possible business opportunities here.

Meng also denied that the two real-estate conglomerates planned to sign a written memorandum of understanding to foster cross-strait exchange, but extended his welcome to China-bound real-estate investments since Chao said that the property market in China is expected to see a 20-year boom.

According to Meng, China National Real Estate, which has 60 billion yuan (US$7.25 billion) in assets, is poised to soon enter the Hong Kong market by buying up 20,000 residential housing units at a cost of some 20 billion yuan (US$2.42 billion).

As many Chinese are interested in making sightseeing trips to Taiwan, Meng urged Taipei to further open up its door to Chinese travelers and facilitate direct cross-strait transportation links.

"If they are not allowed to come here freely, how can they possibly come and shop for houses here?" he asked.

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