Wed, Apr 28, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Realtors won’t welcome disclosure plan: experts

‘INFEASIBLE’ An economics professor said realty firms are unlikely to support giving out information, as it risked further disclosing their closing prices for deals

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior’s plan to require information on real-estate transactions to be fully disclosed on a regular basis may face an uphill battle, pundits said yesterday.

“It is not feasible unless it is made mandatory for the nation’s property realtors to disclose their closing prices for property deals,” Chuang Meng-han (莊孟翰), an associate professor of economics at Tamkang University, told a property seminar in Taipei.

Chuang said Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋) was the first to come out and reject such a mandatory policy on the grounds that it was unlikely Sinyi would disclose its internal pricing system to the public, which has cost it hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) told the legislature on Monday that his ministry would submit a draft of such regulations to the Cabinet for review before July to facilitate the mechanism on making housing transaction data more transparent as a way to rein in surging property prices.

Chuang said that government statistics on property prices have been proved to differ significantly from their market prices and are thus not as trustworthy as expected.

The data currently available to be disclosed would be that owned by the semi-official Joint Credit Information Center (聯合徵信中心) and provided by domestic banks, which the professor said was often under-estimated or over-estimated.

Chuang urged the government to place taxes on the capital gains of property deals as a way to serve taxation justice and curb rising prices.

When asked if Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) would disclose the firm’s closing prices for property deals, chief executive officer Kevin Peng (彭培業) downplayed the question yesterday.

Instead, he threw his support behind the government’s bid to make real-estate data transparent if such a pricing mechanism helps ease homebuyers’ concerns of being cheated.

However, he urged potential homebuyers to shop for properties along mass rapid transit lines, which have long provided a defense for property pricing corrections.

Billy Yen (顏炳立), general manager at the international real estate consultancy firm DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (戴德梁行), reiterated his optimistic views toward the nation’s property outlook after the government inks an economic framework cooperation agreement with China.

He said the office rental and storefront rental market would see a big boost from the trade pact once China further allows its Taiwan-bound businesses and tourists to come here.

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