Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - Page 13 News List

House prices rise as market steadies

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Housing prices grew 8.9 percent annually in the first quarter to 8.9 times the average household income, as the property market stabilized after being rocked by unfavorable government measures, an official survey showed yesterday.

The quarterly survey compiled by the Construction and Planning Agency found that houses averaged NT$9.13 million (US$304,739) per unit in the January-to-March period, rising 8.9 percent from the same period last year and 2.1 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.

The survey’s figures showed that prices were 8.9 times the average household income nationwide, a rise of 0.6 percent from a year ago, despite the special sales levy on property transactions and the housing real-price registration measure effected by the government to cool the real-estate sector.

COST OF LIVING

In Taipei, first-quarter home prices averaged NT$20.32 million, gaining 9.7 percent, or 13.5 times the average household income, from a year earlier, according to the survey.

House prices in the first quarter were NT$9.87 million in New Taipei City (新北市) and NT$7.2 million in Greater Kaohsiung, an annual increase of 17.6 percent and 15 percent respectively, the survey showed.

BURDENS

The poll found that the price hikes increased mortgage burdens, which accounted for 33.9 percent of the average household income, except for in Taipei, where homeowners saw the ratio climb to 48.2 percent.

The data lent support to the gradual recovery of the residential property sector after transactions plunged to a nine-year low last year as buyers waited for a price correction to no avail.

A total of 67.8 percent of the buyers and sellers in the property market polled indicated that they had referenced transaction data published on government Web sites, with 33.2 percent saying the data did not significantly impact their transactions.

First-time home buyers comprised 58 percent of transactions in the first quarter and relocation needs accounted for another 26.8 percent, the survey showed, figures that suggest solid real demand.

Only 15 percent of first-time buyers were looking for investment gains, the survey found.

The Ministry of Finance is to re-evaluate the special sales levy next month, with some lawmakers pressing for tightening revisions and others calling for its removal.

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