Fri, Dec 27, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Majority oppose proposal to tax second homes

PROSPECTS:Kaohsiung led in the number of first-time buyers interested in purchasing a home in the next 24 months, followed by Hsinchu and Tainan

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A majority of respondents in a survey voiced their opposition to a government plan to tax second homes in a bid to curb property speculation, Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋) said yesterday.

A total of 66 percent of respondents objected to a recent proposal by the Ministry of Finance to impose a levy on second homes, according to the online survey conducted from Nov. 28 to Dec. 5, and had 1,619 valid samples.

“It is unreasonable to tax second homes that are mostly intended to be used as residences for aging parents or grown-up children [rather than an investment] to make a profit, Chinatrust Real Estate chairman Chris Cheng-Yu (鄭余正全) told a media briefing.

Meanwhile, 66.4 percent of respondents said increased holding costs and other unfavorable measures would affect home purchasing decisions, while 23.8 percent said they would press ahead, the survey showed.

Residents in Taipei raised their home purchase budget to a record NT$13.23 million (US$440,119) this quarter, more than twice the level set by their counterparts in Greater Kaohsiung at NT$5.88 million, the survey found.

Housing prices in Taipei have risen 13 percent since the government’s introduction of a price registration requirement in August last year. Still, a significant number of first-time buyers across the nation plan to purchase a house in the coming two years, the poll showed.

Great Kaohsiung led in the number of first-time buyers planning to buy a house in the next 24 months at 65.68 percent, followed by 64.53 percent in Hsiunchu, 57.6 percent in Greater Tainan and 47.86 percent in Taipei, the survey showed.

“The figures suggest that housing transactions will be more active in southern and central Taiwan next year,” Cheng-Yu said.

Greater Taichung had 47.07 percent of first-time buyers planning to buy a home, higher than the 44.55 percent in New Taipei City (新北市) and 38.53 percent in Taoyuan, the figures showed.

Prospective buyers in New Taipei City increased their home-buying budgets by NT$960,000 this quarter, while those in Hsinchu added NT$630,000. However, potential buyers in Greater Kaohsiung cut their budgets by NT$1.37 million and those in Greater Tainan slashed them by NT$440,000, according to the survey.

Chinatrust Real Estate has lowered its forecast for housing transactions this year to 366,000 cases from 36,800 after a weaker-than-expected market last month.

Transaction volumes are likely to drop by 3 to 5 percent next year to 335,000 amid deepening concerns over interest rate hikes now that the US has tapered its quantitative easing, Cheng-Yu said.

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