Mon, Feb 12, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Broker sees home surplus

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Housing availability exceeds demand throughout Taiwan, especially in Taichung, but not in Taipei, which is experiencing a shortage, an executive with a local real estate brokerage firm said yesterday.

Citing statistics compiled by the Construction and Planning Agency under the Ministry of the Interior, Benson Liao (廖本勝), president of Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), said there were 7.4 million homes in Taiwan by the end of last year.

This was mostly the result of an abundance of new units built by local real estate developers over the last three years, he said.

But there were only 7.36 million households, translating into a surplus of 39,000 homes.

That excess represented an expansion of 46.76 percent compared with the 26,000 surplus units at the end of 2005 and the excess in supply is expected to keep growing, Liao said.

The oversupply was most obvious in Taichung, where there were 415,000 homes and 353,000 households, which translated into a surplus of 62,000 homes.

Liao attributed that city's housing surplus to broad-based speculation that Taichung will become more prosperous following the inauguration of the high speed rail service earlier this year.

He added that the full operation this year of the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) near Taichung, not to mention the anticipation for direct shipping links between Taichung Harbor and China, would also contribute to the surplus.

The glut of homes in Taichung was sure to put a damper on home prices there, Liao said.

He added that there was a shortage of nearly 90,000 homes in Taipei City, which boasts 9.41 million households but has only 8.51 million homes available.

Three other counties -- Yunlin, Kaohsiung and Tainan -- have also experienced a shortage of housing, but the deficit -- varying from 13,000 to 15,000 units -- was not great enough to raise the prices of homes there too steeply, Liao said.

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