Sat, Jun 01, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Property prices could fall: central bank

VACANT LOTS:As developers keep building new houses, the bank said that prices could face downward pressure from the increasing number of vacant properties

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The central bank yesterday said that average property prices in certain areas of New Taipei City (新北市) and Taoyuan County, where land developers have started new construction projects, may fall further this year, citing its selective control measures.

The central bank made the comments in its annual financial stability report which was issued yesterday. The report gives the bank’s view of the performance of the financial system over the past year as well as listing any risks faced.

“The transaction volume of Taiwan’s property market last year marked its lowest level in 10 years,” Su Dao-min (蘇導民), deputy head of the central bank’s banking examination department, said at a press conference.

Transaction volume — measured by the number of registrations of building ownership transfers — totaled 330,000 units last year, down 8.84 percent from a year earlier, central bank data showed.

Su attributed the decline to the real-price registration system for property transactions launched by the government in August last year, which led to many potential buyers adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

The central bank’s selective control measures also played a role in helping slow speculative transactions and maintaining stability in the housing market, Su added.

However, average housing prices in many urban areas remained high, which meant prospective buyers face a hard time purchasing a house of their own, the bank said in the report.

The central bank said property prices would likely face some downward pressure in the near future because of the impact of an increasing number of vacant properties.

The number of vacant houses stood at 1.43 million last year, up 1.13 percent, or 16,000 households, from a year earlier, the report’s data showed.

Prices for properties in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口), Sansia District (三峽) and Tamsui District (淡水), as well as certain areas in Taoyuan County, may face heavier downward pressure, the bank said.

Last year was largely characterized by sluggish economic growth and rising household debt levels, the report said.

Domestic and international uncertainty means the bank remains concerned about economic momentum, especially after the government cut its GDP growth forecast to 2.4 percent this year.

However, the nation’s financial sector should remain stable this year on the back of structural improvements over the past year, the report said.

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