Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Cities’ house sales drop as market unresponsive

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Housing transactions last month dropped 15 percent in the nation’s six special municipalities from a year earlier, as the market remained unresponsive to interest rate cuts and eased mortgage terms.

Last month saw 14,491 properties change hands, representing a 15 percent decrease from a year earlier, although it marked an 8 percent pickup from one month earlier, according to separate local government data.

“The market needs more time to assimilate favorable monetary measures announced in late March amid lingering expectations for price declines,” said Tseng Chin-der (增進德), a researcher at Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker.

Last month’s data reflects transactions from March because it takes one month to process ownership transfers, making figures this month more relevant in gauging the effect of the lifting of credit controls for houses in the greater Taipei area, Tseng said.

The central bank on March 24 ditched the mortgage cap of 60 percent on houses in Taipei and popular districts of New Taipei City, saying speculators have fled the market following a series of property tax hikes and other tightening measures.

Property transfers totaled 1,363 units last month, a plunge of 31 percent from a year earlier and lower still from 1,500 units recorded in March, capital government data showed.

Safety concerns over soil liquefaction scared off potential buyers after the government in the middle of March released its first batch of data on the issue, Tseng said.

Property transactions in New Taipei City dropped to 2,970 units, a retreat of 33 percent from a year earlier, as buyers demanded greater price concessions, but sellers refused to accommodate, according to Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) researcher Chen Ping-chen (陳炳辰).

Property transfers shrank 16 percent to 1,280 units in Tainan and down 17 percent to 2,253 units in Kaohsiung, separate governments said on their Web site, affirming a conservative sentiment in southern Taiwan.

The housing market in central Taiwan fared better, with the decline standing at a modest 8 percent to 3,008 units, Taichung government data showed.

Taoyuan bucked the trend with a 19 percent increase to 3,617 units, due to the completion of government-sponsored housing complexes, the local government said.

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