Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 13 News List

New home mortgages climb to record

LOOSER POLICY:While the number of loans increased, the average interest rate for new housing loans fell 0.011 percentage points after the central bank cut key rates

Staff writer, with CNA

New home mortgages extended by five major banks hit a new high last month as home buyers rushed to complete transactions in a bid to shun a higher tax burden resulting from a tax reform effective from this month, the central bank said.

Citing its own statistics, the central bank on Friday said that the five major lenders extended NT$86.37 billion (US$2.56 billion) in mortgages last month, more than double the NT$38.04 billion recorded in November last year.

Last month’s figure also rose sharply by NT$44.49 billion from the same period in 2014, data showed.

The five top lenders in the local property market are Bank of Taiwan (臺灣銀行), Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行), Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) and First Commercial Bank (第一銀行).

In addition to concerns over a heavier tax burden, the central bank said that December is a traditional peak season for the local property market, as many people want to move into a new home before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Despite the increase in housing loans, home mortgage rates fell last month after the central bank adopted a looser monetary policy to lead local interest rates to trend lower, with the average interest rate for new housing loans falling by 0.011 percentage points from a month earlier to 1.895 percent, the lowest in three years, data showed.

To boost the slowing local economy, the central bank last month cut its key interest rates by 12.5 basis points for a second consecutive quarter.

Home transactions in the six major cities grew last month on the back of a spike in housing loans, the central bank said.

Housing property transactions in Taichung and Tainan last month totaled 8,196 units and 3,980 units respectively to hit record highs in the two cities.

Home sales in Taipei last month hit 5,497 units, and the figure in New Taipei City reached 7,754 units, both at their highest levels since 2010.

In Taoyuan, home transactions totaled 6,064 units, a new high since 2003, and in Kaohsiung, transactions amounted to 4,969 units, the highest level since 1999.

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