The local unit of Savills PLC, the world’s No. 4 real-estate services provider by turnover, yesterday set up a branch in Greater Taichung to meet the growing demand for retail space and luxury homes in central Taiwan.
Jeremy Helsby, chief executive of the 157-year-old real-estate group headquartered in London, arrived in Taipei to inaugurate the new office and celebrate the fifth birthday of Savills’ Taiwan branch.
“Last year, despite [the] difficult and challenging economic environment, Savills saw both its global revenue and profit increase by 7 percent,” Helsby said.
Asian operations accounted for 41 percent of the group’s overall revenue and contributed over 50 percent to its net profits, he said.
Established in 1855, Savills offers a wide range of commercial, residential and mixed-use real-estate advisory services.
The UK firm expanded to the Asia-Pacific region in 1998, with branch offices in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore.
Savills Taiwan Co (第一太平戴維斯), established in 2007 with a specialty in commercial property consultancy, facilitated NT$21 billion worth of property deals last year, outperforming peers with 17 percent of total transactions, Helsby said.
Cynthia Chu (朱幸兒), general manager of Savills Taiwan, said the firm is the first foreign real-estate service provider that set up an office outside Taipei City, where soaring property prices are pushing down investment returns from 3 percent to 2 percent.
On average, real estate investments in Taichung generate returns of 4 percent or more, Chu said.
“The expansion in Taichung reflects our continued confidence in the local property market, with central Taiwan gaining increasing importance,” she said.“We take note of the trend and so have major domestic developers and investors.”
Savills PLC employs 23,000 people across a network of 200 offices and associates worldwide. The Taiwan branch turned profit just three months after opening after it successfully brokered the sale of an office building in Taipei City’s Neihu District (內湖) with a 25 percent premium, Chu said.
Taiwan’s warming trade relationship with China will bolster demand for retail space, while a lack of luxury homes in Taipei City may drive part of idle funds toward the central part of the country, she said.