Fri, Jan 13, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Oversupply, mild rates to benefit home buyers

BUYER'S MARKET With a slew of new properties slated to come on the market beginning in the second quarter, home buyers can have their pick of the field

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Buying a house just before the Lunar New Year is considered a good way to enjoy the new year as the move indicates "settling down." However, homebuyers need not rush this year, as they can wait for better deals when the second quarter comes around with an expected onslaught of a wide range of new residential properties, market watchers suggested.

"This is a good year for both homebuyers and investors," said Lin Yung-meng (林永孟), a manager at the planning and research division of Sinyi Real Estate Inc (信義房屋), Taiwan's largest housing agent.

The nation's housing market saw an oversupply last year -- about 130 percent more from that in 2004, Lin said, citing company statistics. With more newly completed properties slated to hit the market starting in the second quarter, supply will again far exceed demand, which means consumers will have better bargaining power, he said.

While the oversupply implies more room for negotiating prices, Lin warned that it does not mean that property prices will be very low. Rather, they will be comparatively low this year.

As the costs of land and construction materials have shown no signs of easing, property developers will likely pass on the cost to buyers in the form of higher selling prices, especially for new and presale properties, Lin said.

According to the latest report of Evertrust Rehouse (永慶房屋), another real estate agency, the priciest properties are located in central Taipei City, including the Xinyi, Daan and Songshan districts, where the average selling price is more than NT$400,000 (US$12,550) per ping (one ping equals 3.3m2), and could go as high as NT$800,000 per ping for select upscale units.

The second highest selling prices can be found on the outskirts of Taipei City, such as Shihlin, Beitou and Neihu, where properties average NT$300,000 per ping, according to the report.

Supported by the expected completion of the extension of the mass rapid transport (MRT) system into Taipei County areas such as Banciao, Jhonghe and Sindian, housing prices in these locations have also climbed to more than NT$200,000 per ping, or even up to NT$300,000, a 16 percent jump from a year ago, the report said.

The slew of new properties is expected to trigger a wave of home replacement, which is expected to be a major driver of market demand this year, he said.

Diverse choice

A wide array of products to meet various demands is another feature of this year's housing market.

For high-income individuals who are looking for bigger and classier residences in Taipei City, they can choose from a variety of luxurious properties of over 50 pings that sell above NT$600,000 per ping. A prime example of this is The Palace on Renai Road, which brandishes the ultimate in sumptuous living and is priced at an astounding NT$1 million per ping.

For white-collar workers who are seeking single apartments in the city, 10 to 15 ping condominiums are available. Though the condominiums are tagged at about NT$400,000 per ping, this type of property is very popular as the units usually come with free interior decoration and furnishings.

For retirees that prefer a more peaceful and leisurely life, villas in the Taipei suburbs that offer beautiful mountain or river views -- some of which are even equipped with hot springs -- can be acquired at NT$200,000 per ping.

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