Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan real-estate sales may fall to a seven-year low

BLOOMBERG

Real-estate transactions in Taiwan this year may fall to a seven-year low as the economy enters a recession, one broker forecast.

Residential sales may total about 300,000 this year, the lowest since 259,494 in 2001 when the export-dependent economy contracted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Stanley Su (蘇啟榮), senior researcher at Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋), Taiwan’s only listed property broker.

“This time around, potential home buyers and investors are discouraged as their wealth declines amid the global financial tsunami,” Su said in an interview. “Rising unemployment and wage declines as companies implement unpaid leave also shut many middle-class workers out of the property market.”

November property transactions fell to 23,253, the lowest in nine months, the Ministry of Interior said.

Sales for last month, to be announced late this month or early next month, may drop further to about 20,000, bringing the annual total to about 370,000, the lowest since 2003, Su said.

Taiwan’s economy probably slipped into a recession in the three months ended Dec. 31, after a 1.02 percent contraction in the third quarter, the statistics bureau said in November. It is due to release fourth-quarter economic data next month.

The jobless rate rose to its highest in more than four years in November, reaching 4.62 percent.

Taiwan slashed its forecast for economic growth this year to 2.12 percent from an earlier projection of 5.08 percent and said exports would fall 9.59 percent in US dollar terms, the first decline in eight years.

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