Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Housing sales see drop of 20% by volume: brokers

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Existing home sales by volume dropped 20 percent last month from a year earlier, as the economic slowdown and the “Ghost Month” effect weakened demand, real-estate brokers said yesterday.

Potential homebuyers often refrain from buying real estate during Ghost Month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

Housing transactions totaled 14,878 units in the nation’s six special municipalities — Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung — representing a decline of 19.6 percent from the same period last year and 1.9 percent from one month earlier, Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) said, citing government data.

“Buying interest remains low, given the latest data, and nothing short of a concrete price correction can invigorate the market,” Evertrust researcher Andy Huang (黃舒衛) said in a statement.

New Taipei City saw the deepest annual retreat of 32.8 percent to 3,223 units, followed by declines in Taichung at 28 percent to 2,567 units, and Taoyuan at 23 percent to 2,596 units, the local governments said separately on their Web sites.

The poor economy discouraged home purchases and Ghost Month — running from Aug. 14 to Sept. 12 this year — exacerbated the conservative sentiment, Huang said.

A lack of significant price corrections has followed more than a decade of price hikes, making home ownership increasingly unaffordable, Great Home Realty (大家房屋) said.

On Wednesday, Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) told a meeting the legislature’s Finance Committee that housing prices would not likely to drop between 10 and 20 percent this year, as prospective buyers are hoping, because construction companies and real-estate agents are not willing to lower their prices.

So far this year, housing prices have dropped by an average of between 3 and 5 percent from a year earlier, he said.

Home sales in the south remained relatively stable, with transactions shrinking an annual 6 percent to 1,458 units in Tainan and down 4 percent to 2,615 units in Kaohsiung, government data showed.

Self-occupancy demand and a low base accounted for the showing, Great Home Realty said.

However, the real-estate market might improve with the advent of the high season, Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) said.

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