Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Property market to pick up the pace in next half

‘BULLISH’ Real estate companies say property prices will go up in the next two quarters, while some people say that prices are already too high for current salaries

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s property market looks like it will be bullish over the course of the next six months, with price hikes expected and more buyers willing to purchase houses, a real estate firm said yesterday.

Unless unforeseen circumstances arise — such as a more severe outbreak of influenza A(H1N1) or a soaring unemployment rate — housing prices will experience an upward trend as the economy recovers, Richard Liu (劉天仁), vice president of Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋), told a media briefing.

“The global economy is slowly recovering and Taiwan’s property buyers and sellers are upbeat about short-term prospects,” he said.

The fourth quarter is traditionally a peak season for the property market. More buyers purchase units if sellers are willing to slash prices, which affects the ultimate trading volume, he said.

The nation’s property market plunged to a record low in the fourth quarter last year and early this year, hit hard by the financial crisis. However, property prices in the period from March to this month have rebounded to the pre-financial crisis level, the company said.

A survey commissioned by Chinatrust Real Estate, which polled 1,249 effective samples this month, found that in the third quarter, consumers showed the highest level of dissatisfaction on property prices so far this year. As many as 70 percent of buyers refused to pay extra for properties sold beyond their expectation, and 37.5 percent wanted a much lower price.

More than half of the respondents were still house hunting despite the A(H1N1) threat in the third quarter. Around 70 percent of buyers believed the prices would drop further if the swine flu threat deepens, up from 47 percent in the second quarter.

The Architecture and Building Research Institute, an agency of the Ministry of the Interior, released a report on Thursday that said housing prices were going to rise in the near term.

However, Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚), a land economics professor at National Chengchi University, feels differently.

He said the market prices now were far beyond the level that consumers could afford, and property prices would contract slowly next year, unless factors such as the unemployment rate and salary contraction showed signs of improvement.

Separately, Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) said in a statement yesterday that a 26.6 ping (87.9m²) storefront in Yonghe, Taipei County, which belongs to World Soybean Milk Magnate (世界豆漿大王), was auctioned off at a new high with a closing price of NT$60 million (US$1.85 million).

That translates to NT$2.25 million per ping, which is 60 percent more than the market price in the neighborhood, the realtor said.

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