Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Savills ready for a rebound in luxury housing market

GLOBALIZATION:Savills Residential Taiwan plans to add 100 people to its current staff of 60 this year to help buy and sell properties in Taiwan and overseas

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Savills PLC, the largest real-estate services provider by turnover in the UK, expects the domestic luxury home market to rebound this year, propelled by high demand and limited supply, top executives said yesterday.

With an eye on this growing market, the British property consultancy in November set up a home broker — Savills Residential Services Taiwan (第一太平戴維斯國際豪宅) — which plans to increase its staff by 100 this year, from the current 60, newly installed general manger Henry Lee (李鴻岳) told a media briefing.

Savills Residential will exist alongside Savills Taiwan Co (第一太平戴維斯), which was established in 2007 to focus on commercial properties.

Robert McKellar, Savills’ Asia-Pacific chief executive officer, said the new venture was established in response to the growing interest among its clients to tap into real-estate investment opportunities in Taiwan and overseas.

“The new company will help sell local properties to local and foreign buyers, as well as help buyers buy properties in Taiwan and overseas,” McKellar said.

That is an inevitable way of doing business these days as the trend of globalization deepens, McKellar said.

Savills Taiwan managing director Cynthia Chu (朱幸兒) said that unfavorable government policies were no reason to slow expansion given the company’s earnings of more than NT$200 million (US$6.87 million) last year.

Savills helped auction 57 plots of land in Yilan County and parts of several office buildings in downtown Taipei.

“It is time the company expanded into the high-end residential market, a specialty of Savills worldwide, to better serve customers,” Chu said.

Although a relatively new entrant, Savills Residential has secured brokerage contracts for more than 200 upscale homes in popular locations in Taipei and it serves about 3,000 high net worth clients, Lee said.

“Luxury home transactions may pick up modestly this year while prices hold steady,” Lee said.

The market may see deals valued at NT$3 million per ping in the fourth quarter, he said, as buyers are willing to raise offers in order to acquire properties in prime locations where supply is scarce.

In one case earlier this month, the buyer agreed to pay an additional NT$20 million to close the deal, Lee said, while refusing to elaborate.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate agency by number of outlets, agreed that sentiment is improving.

Online inquiries for luxury homes increased 20 percent this month from last month, while transactions narrowed to 84 days in Taipei and 88 days in New Taipei City, from 100 days and 110 days respectively last month, an Evertrust survey showed.

“The figures may be signs of a recovery after a series of tightening measures affected transactions of upscale units in the second half of last year,” said Greg Yeh (葉國華), head of the luxury home division at Evertrust.

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