Mon, Sep 03, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Brokers report decrease in house sales

BARGAIN HUNTERS:The housing market is likely to show signs of recovery from this month as the traditional high season approaches, according to analysts

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Existing home sales dropped 10 percent last month compared to July, as buyers expected prices to decrease after the registration rule for house transactions took effect on Aug. 1, major housing brokers said yesterday.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), Taiwan’s only listed broker, saw an 8.9 percent fall in home transfer volume last month as buyers adopted a wait-and-see attitude in the hope sellers would soften prices following the introduction of the registration measure, the company said.

The new measure requires home buyers, brokers and administrative agents to file transaction details, notably actual prices, or be fined between NT$30,000 (US$1,000) and NT$150,000.

Transactions in Hsinchu County reported the sharpest decline at 22.8 percent, followed by Greater Kaohsiung at 21.3 percent and Taipei City at 17.3 percent, Sinyi Realty head researcher Stanley Su (蘇啟榮) said.

New Taipei City (新北市) and Taoyuan County fared better with a 0.9 percent dip and a 7.8 percent gain last month respectively, affirming a continued migration from the capital city to satellite cities due to affordability and improved infrastructure, Su said.

The cautious sentiment failed to dent housing prices, which averaged NT$315,000 per ping (3.3m2) last month, up from NT$313,000 per ping in July, the report showed.

House prices in Taipei rose from NT$571,000 per ping to NT$606,000 per ping with low-priced old apartments becoming increasingly rare, Su said.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate agency by number of outlets, reported a 10 percent drop in home transactions nationwide last month from July, company spokesman Andy Huang (黃舒衛) said.

Taipei City saw a retreat of 15 percent while New Taipei City saw an 11 percent decline as prospective buyers calculated it was better to allow the registration measure more time to impact the market, Huang said.

“Many potential buyers expect the registration requirement to trigger a price correction, based on a popular belief that investors may want to offload to avoid higher tax burdens in the future,” Huang said.

There is widespread concern the government may increase property taxes based on real trading prices once it collects sufficient data, Huang said.

However, the correction did not happen and is unlikely to do so in the near future, thanks to ample liquidity and low interest rates, Huang said.

H&B Realty (住商不動產), the nation’s largest real-estate broker by number of franchises, said home deals slipped 5 percent last month from a month ago, spokeswoman Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨) said.

Looking ahead, the market is likely to see a mild recovery from this month onward as the traditionally high season is approaching, all three analysts said.

The recovery is more evident in central and southern Taiwan where developers have increased land inventory on diminishing supply in Taipei City, Hsu said.

“Real estate properties remain a popular option for asset allocation among Taiwanese with idle funds,” she said.

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