Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Waiting period seen for upscale housing market

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The housing market may continue to consolidate this quarter with upscale homes under price correction pressures as buyers wait for more transaction details to guide their decisions, real-estate analysts said yesterday.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of the Interior disclosed property prices online based on transactions since Aug. 1, that exclude deals among relatives and family members and extreme cases, to avoid distortion of fair value.

The ministry had to shut the Web site on Wednesday after heavy traffic flows jammed the inquiry system on the first day of operations.

Prospective buyers will wait for more information to become available to gain a better grasp of the market, a trend that may drag on transactions in the short run, said Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚), a land economics professor at National Chengchi University.

GAP APPEARS

There appears to be a gap between actual trading prices and widely claimed values for houses in different locations, lending support for extra patience and caution, Chang said.

A luxury apartment in Taipei’s prime Xinyi District (信義) was sold for NT$1.65 million (US$56,313) per ping (3.3m2), lower than an advertised worth of NT$2 million per ping, government data showed.

“Buyers should stay on the sidelines for another six months so they have sufficient data to guide their moves,” Chang said by telephone.

Data on the government’s Web site accounts for less than 50 percent of transactions nationwide for the past three months, with the ratio standing lower than 30 percent in Taipei, according to Andy Huang (黃舒衛), spokesman of Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate agency by number of outlets.

Apartments in Sinjhuang (新莊), New Taipei City (新北市), cost NT$400,000 to NT$450,000 per ping, while asking prices hover at about NT$500,000 to NT$550,000 per ping, Huang said.

GOOD FOR EVERYONE

“The registration measure is favorable for the market as sellers and buyers will both be more reasonable when negotiating prices,” Huang said. “It may facilitate transactions once the economy shows signs of stabilization.”

A lack of transparency and trust has led both parties to adopt unreasonable pricing tactics, the analyst said, adding it is premature to judge the impact of the data on the market.

Chiu Tai-shuan, a spokesman for Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋), expects lower sales for homes priced at NT$80 million and more in the wake of the central bank’s credit control measures.

“It will be difficult for high-priced houses to find buyers in the absence of a price adjustment, while houses priced at NT$20 million or less in the capital will remain popular,” Chiu said.

PRESALE PROJECTS

Presale projects are less affected by the registration requirement because brokers do not have to file trading details until after the selling contracts expire, said Ni Tzu-jen (倪子仁), spokesman for Housing Monthly (住展雜誌).

Most selling contracts last for six months, giving firms a respite, Ni said, adding that the room for exaggerated pricing has still been curtailed.

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