Mon, Aug 03, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Existing home sales remain flat

TAX-FEAR CONTAGION:An analyst said prospective buyers are staying away from the market, as they are wary of an upcoming tax — even though it would not affect them

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Transactions for existing homes in the nation remained flat last month from June, but the figure is a marked decline from the same period last year, with self-occupancy and relocation needs driving sellers to reduce prices slightly, major brokers said yesterday.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, saw its overall trading volume of existing homes remain virtually unchanged last month from June but the figure marks a 10 percent decline from the same period last year, Sinyi researcher Tseng Chin-der (曾進德) said.

“The data suggest that sales might have edged up from June last month, which would be the first month-on-month increase this year, indicating that the market is growing more comfortable with the upcoming property tax,” Tseng said by telephone.

Many prospective buyers have shied away from the market, even though the new tax, due to take effect in January next year, will not impact existing homes bought before the measures are implemented, Tseng said.

The northern Taiwan market failed to show signs of stabilization last month as home transactions plunged 9.2 percent in Taipei and 10.8 percent in New Taipei City, with Taoyuan seeing a drop of 3.4 percent month-on-month, Sinyi said.

Sentiment was better in other areas of the nation, with Hsinchu seeing a monthly gain of 19 percent, and a 10.9 percent pickup in Taichung, the broker said.

Relative affordability and self-occupancy demand accounted for the upturn in central Taiwan, Tseng said.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate agency by number of outlets, reported similar findings.

The company saw transactions shrinking in Taipei by 6 percent last month from June and by 12 percent in New Taipei City, according to an internal report. Transactions weakened 17 percent in Taoyuan and 11 percent in Hsinchu, Evertrust said.

The market showed a modest improvement of 2 percent in Taichung, remained flat in Tainan and gained 4 percent in Kaohsiung in terms of monthly volume, Evertrust said.

First-time ownership drove transactions while relocation needs were also a factor, the broker said.

A quarter of the houses were sold 5 percent below the rates listed on the government’s real-price registration Web site, reflecting the effectiveness of reducing prices to facilitate deals, Evertrust researcher Andy Huang (黃舒衛) said.

H&B Realty Co (住商不動產), the nation’s largest real-estate broker by number of franchises, said overall housing transactions rose 6.7 percent last month from June at its outlets nationwide excluding Taipei. The capital recorded a 13.5 percent fall in trading volume as it is bearing the brunt of unfavorable tax policies, the broker said.

Taipei authorities have imposed extra levies on so-called luxury homes in popular locations, expensive building materials and access to privacy and security services.

Relocation to larger homes drove demand for houses outside the Greater Taipei area, H&B spokeswoman Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨) said.

The trend accounted for increases of 17.1 percent and 15.3 percent in property deals in Taoyuan and Taichung respectively last month, Hsu said.

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