Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Housing construction, prices soar last quarter: report

FEARS EASING:One of the report’s authors attributed the rise in construction volume and prices of homes to ebbing concerns over the special sales levy and the US’ taper

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The total construction volume of presale and new homes rose 7.84 percent to NT$401.5 billion (US$13.19 billion) last quarter from the previous quarter, as developers and builders took an upbeat view toward housing demand, especially in central Taiwan, a report said yesterday.

The figure represents a 32.23 percent annual increase, according to the quarterly report conducted 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).

The average housing price gained 6.39 percent to NT$297,600 per ping (3.3m2) over the same period, the report added.

“The increase in both construction volume and prices came after the Ministry of Finance indicated that it plans to leave the special sales levy virtually unchanged and as concerns over the US’ tapering of quantitative easing measures subsided,” said Hua Ching-chun (花敬群), a real-estate professor at Takming University of Science and Technology who co-authored the report.

The market speculated that the ministry might tighten the levy by extending the taxable threshold from two years to make houses resold within three years of purchase subject to a levy of up to 15 percent of their transaction price.

The report also showed that Greater Taichung recorded the largest house price increase among the nation’s major cities, with prices rising 13.38 percent to NT$200,400 per ping from the preceding quarter after developers and builders launched NT$58.3 billion worth of presale and new home projects.

In Taipei, new home prices averaged at NT$812,500 per ping, down 0.13 percent quarter-on-quarter, but up 6.21 percent year-on-year, while construction volume rose 49.64 percent per quarter and 25.75 percent annually to NT$79.6 billion, as developers cashed in on the high season.

“The figures suggest that Taipei’s housing market was consolidating last quarter amid increasingly unaffordable prices,” Hua said.

The volume of new homes in New Taipei City (新北市) fell 1.27 percent to NT$134.6 billion last quarter from three months earlier, but rose 55.59 percent from the previous year, with average prices down 0.47 percent on a quarterly basis, but up 3.71 percent annually at NT$418,900 per ping, according to the report.

Hua said that investors, rather than homebuyers, accounted for a sizable proportion of transactions in New Taipei City, making the area particularly vulnerable to price corrections if the central bank raises interest rates.

Last quarter, Greater Kaohsiung recorded new construction volume of NT$30.1 billion and average prices of NT$183,800 per ping, as Greater Tainan booked NT$18.1 billion in construction volume at NT$138,100 per ping, the report said.

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