Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - Page 14 News List

NT$7bn housing project planned

CHARGING AHEAD:Victoria Group’s CEO said his firm will launch a brokerage alongside building new luxury apartments, while H&B Realty launched its second brand

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Victoria Group (維多利亞集團), a developer based in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) that has expanded into property management and restaurant operations, plans to launch small luxury homes valued at NT$7 billion (US$230.73 million) this year, senior executives said yesterday.

The figures suggest a flat growth this year from last year, as the unlisted company favors a stable business approach despite warnings the market is under pressure for capital flight and price corrections, company CEO Chiu Ming-hung (邱明宏) said.

Victoria group plans to offer two presale projects with 300 small upscale apartments in Neihu (內湖) and Jingmei (景美) districts later this year, Chiu told a media briefing.

The apartments would measure from 20 ping (66 m²) to 30 ping each and cost between NT$20 million and NT$30 million, or NT$1 million per ping including parking space, Chiu said.

While housing prices have climbed over the past decade, real demand and low interest rates will continue to support new apartments in locations with transportation and other conveniences, he said.

The builder will invite architects Rockwell Group and Piet Boon to help design the planned apartments, Chiu said.

Additionally, Victoria Group aims to start its own broker, One Percent Real Estate (1% 地產), in April to serve customers seeking existing homes, company general manager George Ko (柯李興) said.

The planned broker would set a flat commission charge of 1 percent on both sellers and buyers for all services offered to facilitate property deals, Ko said.

Similar local firms charge 3 percent to 5 percent of trading prices for individual transactions, representing millions of New Taiwan dollars and a heavy burden on average buyers and sellers, Ko said.

Victoria Group will expand at about the same pace next year with NT$7 billion worth of presale projects in Nankang (南港) and Banciao (板橋) districts, Chiu said.

Separately, H&B Realty Co (住商不動產), the nation’s largest home broker by the number of franchises, yesterday launched its “Great Home Realty” (大家房屋) brand with an aim to increase overall market share by 3 percent this year from its current 10 percent.

The creation of the new brand aligns with the conglomeration trend among local brokers over the past decade, H&B Realty chairman Wu Yao-kung (吳耀焜) said.

Branded brokers had 62.6 percent of market share last year, compared with 52.4 percent in 2003, as they gain better name recognition and sales efficiency, Wu said.

The trend merits the creation of a second brand so H&B and Great Home may team up in obtaining a larger market share, Wu said.

H&B aims to increase its number of franchises to 700 this year, from 563 at present, while launching 100 Great Home outlets nationwide, he said.

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