Taipei-based Highwealth Construction Co (興富發) is targeting first-time and salaried home buyers this year, as upscale projects bear the brunt of tightening measures intended to cool housing prices, company chairman Cheng Chih-lung (鄭志隆) said yesterday.
Cheng made the statement on the sidelines of a 30-minute shareholders’ meeting, which approved plans to distribute a cash dividend of NT$$4 per share and stock dividend of 30 percent from profits of NT$10.13 billion (US$323.72 million) recorded last year.
The payout scheme accounted for 61.19 percent of the developer’s NT$11.44 earnings per share (EPS) last year, a robust performance given a sluggish market.
The company will put between NT$40 billion and NT$50 billion worth of presale housing projects and newly completed homes on the market this year, with a focus on first-time and middle-income buyers, Cheng said.
The launch of affordable housing projects is scheduled for the second half of the year now that policy uncertainty over the property tax has settled.
Property developers have “a better idea on how to set prices after factoring in the tax burden,” Cheng told reporters.
Highwealth plans to introduce 10 housing projects nationwide, including a 19-story apartment complex in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水), Cheng said, adding that the company plans to build new housing in Keelung and Hsinchu counties.
Prospective buyers who have stayed on the sidelines on expectations of lower prices are likely to be more willing to take action going forward, the developer said.
Likewise, the industry will be more pragmatic in setting prices to save the trouble of lengthy bargaining, he said.
Policy uncertainty pushed down housing prices by between 3 and 5 percent in the first half of the year, but the situation should soon stabilize, he said.
The company is to book profits from newly completed houses in Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung later this year, Cheng said.
He dismissed concerns over selling pressure from previous presale projects, saying the company managed to sell more than 70 percent on average and is to roll new promotion campaigns to digest inventory.
Highwealth recorded NT$9.41 billion in revenue in the first quarter and EPS of NT$3.05, thanks to the disposal of a plot of land in Taichung.
Stock analysts said the company could see a 10 percent profit decline this year, as political uncertainty could weigh on sales.
Highwealth shares closed down 0.94 percent to NT$73.40, bucking the TAIEX’s 0.04 percent increase, data showed.
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