Wed, May 01, 2013 - Page 13 News List

New housing sales, prices rose in first quarter: report

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

New home sales and prices picked up last quarter, with first-time buyers driving the demand — a trend that was most evident in Taoyuan County, a report released yesterday said.

Developers and construction firms added 17,520 apartment units during the January-to-March period, an increase of 11.3 percent and 40.3 percent from the previous quarter and year-ago levels respectively, amid expectations of better sales as the economy improves, a quarterly report by Cathay Real Estate Development Co (國泰建設) and National Chengchi University’s Taiwan Real Estate Research Center (台灣房地產中心) showed.

New home prices gained 2.91 percent last quarter to NT$271,400 (US$9,163.96) per ping (3.3m2) nationwide, compared with NT$263,700 per ping three months previously, lifted by luxury home projects, but low-priced apartments still dominated the market, said Hua Ching-chun (花敬群), a finance and banking professor at Hsuan Chuang University.

“The outcome suggested a healthy recovery for the property market last quarter, but it may later create selling pressure in areas with high inventories,” said Hua, who announced the results of the survey on behalf of the research panel.

This concern is likely to intensify after the special sales levy turns two years old next month, freeing houses purchased two years ago from taxes of up to 15 percent of the transaction value, the academic said.

In Taipei, new housing projects edged up 1.34 percent to NT$775,200 per ping last quarter, while price concessions narrowed to 13.26 percent, the survey showed.

The figures lent support to a stable market, despite government measures to cool the property sector, Hua said.

Developers and construction firms put NT$91.2 billion in presale or newly completed homes on the market in Taoyuan and Hsinchu, double the level in the fourth quarter last year or up 94.5 percent from a year earlier, the survey found.

Housing prices averaged NT$206,650 per ping in these areas, rising 7.38 percent from three months earlier, as better infrastructure facilities and relative affordability made relocation both practical and desirable, Hua said.

The influx of funds into Taoyuan ahead of its planned upgrade into a special municipality prompted the central bank to warn lenders to step up risk controls in four districts where the property market was heating up.

State-run banks have raised interest rates on mortgage loans to above 2 percent in those districts.

“The tightening measure may create selling pressure for investors who do no have deep pockets,” Hua said.

Housing prices rose 4.98 percent last quarter to NT$424,000 per ping in New Taipei City (新北市), while new construction volume grew 7 percent to NT$92.5 billion, the survey showed.

That was a large amount and may add to selling pressure later, Hua said.

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