Mon, Sep 08, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Housing transactions down across the nation

SENTIMENT COOL:An analyst said that sellers were making few concessions in a buyers market, and that buyers were waiting on the result of local elections

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Housing transactions in the six major municipalities dropped by 20 percent annually last month as buyers remained on the sideline in expectations of a price fall, government data showed.

Real-estate transactions totaled 18,574 last month in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung combined, a fall of 19.5 percent from the same period a year earlier and the lowest level in nine years, according to local governments.

Andy Huang (黃舒衛), a researcher at Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest broker by number of offices, attributed the sluggish market to expectations of a price fall as the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections draw near, deepening political uncertainty.

“Quite a lot of people voiced buying interest last month but few would make offers on concerns housing prices might fall going forward,” Huang said in a report.

Plans by the Ministry of Finance to increase taxes on capital gains linked to property deals lent support to the cautious sentiment, the analyst said.

In Taipei, housing transactions slumped 15.7 percent year-on-year to 2,306 units last month, the lowest figures recorded since August 2003, city government statistics indicated.

The situation was equally dismal in New Taipei City where transactions dropped 29.1 percent to 4,935 units last month, also the weakest since 2003.

Sellers mostly refused to make concessions as housing prices have held relatively steady despite talks of corrections for years, Huang said.

Unfavorable measures — noticeably the special sales levy, real price registration and selective credit control — have managed to depress trading volume, but have failed to trigger a price fall, the analyst said.

The improving economy gave sellers reasons to be uncompromising, Huang said.

Home transactions tumbled 18.6 percent to 3,126 units in Taoayuan County last month, the lowest seen since August 2000, as the introduction of selective credit controls in parts of the county appeared to be effective in curbing speculation, county data found.

Greater Taichung and Greater Tainan saw housing transactions soften 13.8 percent and 3.8 percent to 3,861 and 1,573 units respectively last month, according to city government figures.

Trading in Kaohsiung plunged 19.4 percent to 2,773 deals last month as the gas pipeline blasts disrupted business in the southern municipality, Huang said.

It wouls take time for authorities to rebuild hard-hit areas and residents would be more safety conscious when shopping for a home, Evertrust said.

H&B Realty Co (住商不動產) said that buyers would show more caution going forward and nothing short of a price fall could reinvigorate the market.

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