Thu, Nov 08, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Government home price Web site found wanting

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The government’s home price Web site has ample room for improvement because it does include factors such a parking space and interior decoration that affect a property’s value, real-estate brokers said yesterday.

In line with the government’s move to increase transparency in the real-estate market, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on Oct. 16 published the transaction prices of houses sold across the nation, but without detailing their exact address or the condition of the property. Home buyers and brokers are not obligated to provide the actual transaction price for parking space or building additions, although they affect home prices.

The incomplete disclosure results in a mismatch between actual housing prices and the ministry’s data, raising questions about its usefulness in serving as a reference for property values, Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) manager Jack Chou (周鶴鳴) said.

The public shared the same view, but welcomed the publication of a second batch of data on the Web site for houses sold in September, Chou said, citing the company’s survey.

The survey, which polled 1,892 people from Oct. 19 to Tuesday, showed that 81 percent of respondents visited the Web site, but only 38 percent found the information useful, Chou said.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they believed the ministry’s figures were accurate, while more than 40 percent expressed doubt, the survey showed.

“Both sides agreed that the information available was limited, and more time and effort are needed to make the system more useful and convenient,” Chou said.

One third-floor apartment on Taipei’s Yongkang Street (永康街) was listed as having been sold for NT$520,000 (US$17,717) per ping (3.3m2), 50 percent lower than market expectations, Chou said, adding that the deal probably took place between family members.

Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋) said a 20 percent gap exists between the ministry’s statistics and the real worth of luxury homes.

According to the Web site, an upscale apartment in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) was sold for NT$1.3 million per ping, lower than estimates of NT$1.65 million per ping, because it failed to take the parking space into account, Chinatrust Real Estate vice chairman Richard Liu (劉天仁) said in a statement.

A parking space in the prime district costs between NT$3.5 million and NT$4 million and luxury home owners usually own two to four parking spaces each, Liu said.

Despite the drawbacks, the government’s price-registration measure is seen as positive to the housing market, which could see transactions increase by at least 10 percent this quarter from last quarter, Taiwan Realty researcher Sarah Liu (劉怡蓉) said.

Transaction volume jumped 28 percent in Greater Kaohsiung last month from September and rose 8.6 percent in Greater Taichung, lending support to an anticipated recovery, Liu said.

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