Wed, Feb 15, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Housing prices expected to fall

NOT SO FAST:While 53 percent of respondents expect a price correction in the next six months, prices have yet to fall following last month’s presidential election

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwanese expect housing prices to decline in the coming six months and will stay on the sidelines until they see a clear market correction, a quarterly survey by Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) indicated yesterday.

The survey suggests a sluggish market this quarter and next as sellers remain reluctant to soften prices, while buyers delay purchasing decisions.

The sentiment changed little after President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) victory in the Jan. 14 presidential election and ensuing Lunar New Year holidays, the survey found.

A total of 53 percent of the respondents expect a price correction, compared with 55 percent before the election, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted first from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14 and again from Jan. 16 to Jan. 30.

The survey showed the election had a very limited impact on the housing market, Evertrust head researcher Jeffry Huang (黃增幅) said one week after Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) unveiled similar findings.

A price drop from 10 to 15 percent would motivate 43 percent of respondents in Taipei to enter the market and 52 percent in New Taipei City (新北市) to follow suit, the survey said.

Buying interest climbed to 55 percent in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties and 61 percent in central and southern Taiwan, the survey indicated.

The figures would consolidate the standoff between buyers and sellers, as housing prices have held steady in the greater Taipei area since the imposition of a special sales levy in June last year, Huang said.

“A price drop is even more unlikely once the global financial market stabilizes,” Huang said, adding that low interest rates and excess liquidity have also helped sustain housing prices.

Greg Yeh (葉國華), an adviser with Evertrust’s luxury home division, said cooling transactions for upscale housing units have more to do with scarce supply than weakening demand.

“Many wealthy Taiwanese wish to own luxury homes in the prime Xinyi (信義) and Da-an districts (大安), but very few can be found on the market,” Yeh said.

The luxury home segment may see an increase in supply from the third quarter onward as some investors would be spared from the luxury tax after meeting the two-year clause, Yeh said.

The luxury tax, which is intended to curb property speculation, subjects houses resold within two years of purchase to a levy of up to 15 percent of trading prices.

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