Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Bullet train set to boost property, survey predicts

MULTIPLIER Rising people traffic around stations after the high-speed rail commences operation is expected to spur local commercial opportunities and real estate

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

A train on Taiwan's high speed railway approaches the Banciao Train Station during a performance test last month in this file photo. According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Taiwan High Speed Railway is unlikely to be up and running by the end of this month as scheduled.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite repeated delays in the high-speed railway project, many people remained bullish that the new infrastructure will drive up housing prices, according to a survey released by Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) last week.

The Banciao (板橋) area of Taipei County is expected to become the top beneficiary of the expected property boom, if the nation's long-awaited bullet train commences operation next year, the survey said.

The online survey polled 1,756 people from Oct. 5 to Oct. 11. It showed that 56 percent of respondents are upbeat that the new railway will boost property prices in the neighborhood of stations, while only 26 percent expressed pessimism.

"The bullet train has been delayed several times, and this has not had a negative impact on the property market," said Liao Yung-sheng (廖永勝), president of Evertrust Rehouse Group (永慶房仲集團), a major real estate agent.

Rising people traffic around stations after the bullet train commences operation is expected to spur commercial opportunities and property development, Liao said.

"The outlook for housing markets around high-speed railway stations is very promising," he said.

The neighborhood surrounding Banciao station, a key hub incorporating stations for three major transportation systems -- the bullet train, the underground rapid transit system and the conventional railway -- is the area that could see the biggest upside potential, the survey said, citing votes by 31 percent of respondents.

The massive flow of people is expected to stimulate the construction of department stores, upscale residences and high-end commercial real estate that will bolster property prices throughout the area, Liao said.

The survey also showed that Wujih (烏日) Township in Taichung County and Lioujia (六家) Village in Hsinchu County are other favored locations.

Wujih was favored because it could also serve flights to China at some point in the future, the survey said. It also boasts pleasant weather and a spacious living environment compared with other places, the report added.

The survey also said Lioujia ranked high because it is close to Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), the nation's No. 1 technology park.

However, up to 61 percent of people surveyed were skeptical that the launch of the high-speed railway would encourage people to commute between the north and south everyday, due to high fares and a lack of shuttle systems to and from the stations.

More than 50 percent of people think fares should be kept under NT$1,000 per single trip between Taipei and Kaohsiung, the survey said.

The rail project contractor, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵), has set fares for a single trip between Taipei and Kaohsiung at NT$1,490 for a seat in economy class and NT$2,440 for a business-class seat.

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