Thu, Feb 17, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Retail property prices rise to record, Yungching says

Bloomberg

Taipei’s retail property prices surged to a record last month on expectations that the arrival of more Chinese tourists will boost consumption, according to Taiwan’s biggest real estate brokerage.

Sale prices for retail properties in Taiwan’s capital climbed 25 percent from a year earlier to NT$1.25 million (US$42,510) per ping (3.3m2) last month, said Huang Tzeng-fu (黃增福), assistant vice president at Yungching Realty Group (永慶房屋).

Taiwan expects a record number of visitor arrivals this year to boost domestic consumption as it plans to drop a ban on independent tourists from China, who had previously traveled in groups. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said in a Feb. 8 speech he’s targeting more than 6.5 million visitors, including those coming to the nation for leisure and business.

“The arrival of more Chinese tourists will continue to lift property prices and extend Taipei’s store prices to a new record,” Huang said in a telephone interview.

Visitors to the nation totaled 5.6 million people and generated about NT$510 billion in tourism spending last year, Ma said on Tuesday.

Taipei properties around the Pacific SOGO department stores, frequented by tourists, were among the favorites of investors last month, Huang said.

Chinese tourists and the nation’s economic growth may boost consumption and raise store prices in the first six months as much as 28 percent from the NT$1.03 million per ping in the same period last year, Huang said.

Taiwan plans to allow independent Chinese tourists for the first time in more than 60 years beginning with Kinmen and Matsu, before opening up Taiwan proper, according to Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chao Chien-min (趙建民).

Ma has allowed Chinese tourists to travel in groups since July 2008, two months after he took office.

China overtook Japan last year as Taiwan’s largest source of leisure visitors with 1.23 million, more than twice the Chinese arrivals of 2009, according to statistics from the Tourism Bureau. Taiwan also raised the daily quota for Chinese traveling in groups to 4,000 from 3,000 this year.

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