Mon, Apr 16, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Home market indices indicate recovery: real-estate brokerages

MOVING SOUTH:An improvement in infrastructure is encouraging buyers to look outside Taipei, especially for two or three-bed properties priced under NT$10 million

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Home price differences between potential sellers and buyers and the length of time to complete transactions dropped to a six-month low last month, a further sign of recovery in the nation’s housing market, real-estate brokers said.

Both sales price reductions and time to complete transactions, two indicators used to gauge the health of the housing market, showed continued improvement nationwide last month, with the trend increasingly clear further south, said H&B Realty Co (住商不動產), Taiwan’s largest broker by number of franchises.

The difference between asking and selling price averaged 15.6 percent last month in Taipei City, down from 17.3 percent in February, while it took 65.2 days on average to sell a home, down from 72.4 days, the H&B report said.

It took 53 days to close a deal in Greater Tainan and 58 days in Greater Kaohsiung, with price discrepancies standing at 14.7 percent and 15 percent respectively, the report said.

Price reductions narrowed from 18.3 percent in February to 15.1 percent in March in New Taipei City (新北市), where it took on average 54 days to sell a house, according to the report.

H&B head researcher Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨) attributed the pickup to stronger buying interest and more reasonable asking prices.

Two and three-bedroom homes priced at under NT$10 million (US$330,000) accounted for most of the transactions, Hsu said.

“It is hard to find such properties at this price in Taipei City,” Hsu said. “Which explains why transactions were more active elsewhere in the country last month.”

Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋) reached similar conclusions.

BELOW BENCHMARK

Home transfers remained below the 3,000-unit benchmark in the capital last month, but gained over 50 percent in New Taipei City and Greater Kaohsiung, compared with February, Chinatrust Real Estate vice chairman Richard Liu (劉天仁) said.

Affordability and strengthening infrastructure underpinned the southward migration, Liu said.

Based on Chinatrust Real Estate data, price differences in Taipei climbed to 14.89 percent in March, from 12.3 percent in February, but declined from 14.43 percent to 12.75 percent in New Taipei City.

Liu expects housing prices in New Taipei City, currently about half of those in Taipei City, to catch up gradually, but steadily, if the relocation trend persists.

The housing market may receive an additional boost from growing inflationary pressures linked to a 10 percent hike in oil prices this month and steeper increases in electricity rates next month, the brokers said.

The price hikes would drive idle funds toward real estate as a hedge against inflation, Hsu said.

Liu agreed, saying properties in Taipei City have proved to be better choices in this regard.

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