Tue, Sep 17, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Housing market to pick up: realtors

OUT OF REACH:Academics warn that many looking to buy property are being priced out of the market and recommend new measures to curb speculation

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The housing market may regain some momentum next quarter on the back of real demand, while investors may take a wait-and-see attitude until policy uncertainty settles, real-estate analysts said.

“The housing market may come out of the woods next quarter, thanks to the advent of the traditional high season,” Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) general manager Yeh Ling-chi (葉凌棋) said.

Taiwanese often choose to marry toward the end of the year and this time-honored tradition is likely to help boost home sales as it has in the past, Yeh said.

Self-occupancy needs will drive the market during the October-to-December period because Taiwanese assign great importance to home ownership, Yeh said, adding that policy uncertainty may sideline investors for a while.

The Ministry of Finance is reevaluating the special sales levy of 15 percent of purchase price placed on sellers of homes resold within two years.

Some academics suggested extending the taxable limit by another one to three years to better curb housing prices as they remain unresponsive to all tightening measures.

Home costs rose modestly in Taipei, gaining much more in New Taipei City (新北市) and more than doubled in southern areas over the past two years as speculation funds moved southward, an Evertrust report showed.

AMENDING LEVY

The ministry plans to amend the special sales levy in the fall legislative session and is in the process of seeking advice.

Chuang Meng-han (莊孟翰), a professor of industrial economics at Tamkang University, said the government is unlikely to make drastic adjustments given the mild economic growth at home and abroad.

“Strong tightening may shake public confidence, which may harm government efforts to encourage private consumption,” Chuang said.

Inaction may anger the public who complain about increasingly unaffordable housing, Chuang said.

Against this backdrop, the ministry is likely to stretch the taxable period a bit to show its resolve to rein in housing prices, Chuang said.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, agreed the home market could make a mild comeback next quarter in terms of trading volume.

LONG RUN

Talks of a quantitative easing exit by the US Federal Reserve may weigh on the market, but improving economic fundamentals will sustain the housing market in the long run, Sinyi said.

Property investors, on the other hand, will stay low-keyed until the market sorts out fund movements, Sinyi said.

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