Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Home buyers settling for less as prices keep rising

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local home buyers have begun to feel the pinch from hiked property prices, forcing them to settle for less desired homes at more affordable prices, a survey released by Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋) showed yesterday.

“In anticipation of rising property prices and inflationary pressure, many home buyers are not as picky and are rushing to close deals,” company vice president Richard Liu (劉天仁) told reporters.

The survey found that a majority of buyers expected to close deals with a discount of less than 20 percent, he said.

Liu forecast the nation’s property prices could see an average price hike of 5 percent to 10 percent price in the coming year and peak in the fourth quarter of next year if the economic recovery remains on track. As a result of the rising prices, shoppers are targeting cheaper homes.

The quarterly survey found that 44.2 percent of prospective buyers were shopping for properties priced below NT$5 million (US$155,000), up from 39.9 percent in the third quarter.

At the same time, some 28.3 percent of home buyers were looking for properties priced between NT$5 million and NT$7 million, while 27.4 percent were looking for homes priced above NT$7 million, down from 33.3 percent in the previous quarter.

Properties in parts of Taipei County such as Banciao (板橋) and Sinjhuang (新莊) became the No. 1 choice, the realtor said.

Assistant manager Jerry Chang (張世宗) estimated that 383,000 homes have changed hands this year, compared with 379,000 last year and 255,000 in 2001.

The number may grow slightly to just below 400,000, he said.

Peak years include 1996, 2006 and 2007, when 508,000, 450,000 and 410,000 homes changed hands respectively, he said.

The survey also found that only 27 percent of respondents — the lowest figure in four quarters — felt the economy had improved significantly, down from 43 percent in the previous quarter and 30.5 percent in the first quarter, when the real economy hit bottom.

Company chairman Chris Cheng (鄭余正全) said he expected the market to see mild growth, although a potential rate hike by the central bank and tightened credit in the second half of next year could slow it down.

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