Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Fire and Marine acquires Cathay building

STILL BUBBLING Analysts say that better cross-strait trade is fueling property prices, with real-estate prices in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung and Kaohsiung soaring


Taiwan Fire and Marine Insurance Co Ltd (台灣產物保險) yesterday acquired Cathay United Bank Co’s (國泰世華銀行) collateral office building on Zhongshan N Road in Taipei for NT$1.54 billion (US$48.5 million), or NT$589,500 per ping (3.3m²).

That was higher than the asking price of NT$1.5 billion set by the banking arm of Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) in a failed attempt to auction the 38-year-old office building last September, Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) said in a statement.

“Fueled by the anticipated inking of the government’s proposed economic pact with China in June and increasing cross-strait business activity, the deal attracted both insurance and construction companies,” said Chiu Tai-hsuan (邱太煊), an analyst with Taiwan Realty.

The unit price of the office building, which sits on a 294 ping (971m²) plot of land with a total floor space of approximately 2,610 ping, was higher than the average price of between NT$480,000 and NT$550,000 per ping in the neighborhood, the report said.

Chiu said the insurance company could maximize the profit out of the property by acquiring the neighboring K Hotel (柯達飯店) to free up another 166 ping for luxury ­housing.

Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋) assistant manager Ou Jen-chang (歐人彰) agreed, saying the office building is expected to have a floor price of more than NT$1 million after it is incorporated into an urban renewal project, adding that soaring property prices in prime areas in Taipei City had also propped up the value of the office building.

Local real estate agency U-trust’s (有巢氏房屋) data showed yesterday that home prices in Taipei City rose nearly NT$6.12 million, or 79.1 percent, to an average of NT$13.86 million this year, up from NT$7.74 million recorded in 2004.

Taipei City, Taipei County, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City, Taichung City and Kaohsiung City have all seen an increase of more than 10 percent in real estate prices in the past seven years, it said.

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