The nation's real estate sector is expected to keep growing in the fourth quarter, bolstered by sound economic fundamentals and prospects of improved trade relations with China, a local developer said yesterday.
The nation's low interest rates and weak private consumption make housing investments more appealing, said Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰), head of the Taichung-based Shining Group (鄉林集團).
Housing prices in big cities with major construction projects will increase by between 5 percent and 10 percent in the fourth quarter, said Lai, whose firm also operates the upscale resort The Lalu (涵碧樓) at Sun Moon Lake.
The transaction value for the whole year might remain at the same level as last year, which saw 128,730 housing units change hands for NT$965.5 billion (US$29 billion).
Despite continuing protests against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in Tiapei, their impact on real estate has died down, he said.
Since the sit-in campaign against the president began early last month, transaction rates for luxury projects and the investment market dwindled to as low as 50 percent, but the market has bounced back to normal this month as the protests have proceeded peacefully, he said.
The number of housing units offered nationwide totaled 26,321 in the third quarter, and were valued at NT$224.9 billion, 1.9 percent higher than a year ago, the group's statistics showed.
For the January-to-September period, the transaction volume and value both recorded negative growth from last year, which Lai attributed to the difficulty of acquiring land.
A total of 77,427 housing deals were closed during the first three quarters, down by 21.6 percent from 98,859 units a year ago.
The transaction value during the same period stood at NT$655.3 billion, down 4.9 percent from last year's NT$688.9 billion, which shows market supply was not overheated as some have thought.
The real estate market in Ilan County has yet to benefit from the opening of the Hsuehshan Tunnel (
"Except for Chiaohsi (礁溪), the housing market in all the other areas in Ilan has remained slow owing to frequent traffic jams in the tunnel. This is a rare exception where major construction fails to bring a much-anticipated advantage to local development," Lai said.
Shining Group is expected to launch at least seven big projects in Taipei and Taichung next year, bringing in more than NT$20 billion in revenues, nearly four times the NT$5.5 billion that was forecast this year, he added.