Major property brokers saw transactions increase mildly last month, driven by real demand from people wanting to move house ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, reported a 3.5 percent monthly increase in transactions, mostly in Taoyuan and Taichung, thanks to their relatively affordable housing prices, Sinyi researcher Tseng Ching-der (增進德) said.
“The pickup is modest despite the high sales season, as buyers generally remained conservative and sellers grew less eager to grant concessions after the government indicated plans to lower holding costs,” Tseng said in a statement.
Transactions picked up 17.3 percent in Taoyuan and 10.5 percent in Taichung last month from a month earlier, but shrank 10 percent in Taipei, 5.8 percent in New Taipei City and 9.6 percent in Kaohsiung, Tseng said, citing internal data.
Sellers in Taipei recovered some confidence after the city government floated plans to cut the housing tax to ease the burden on homeowners, Tseng said.
The improving sentiment might slow trading going forward, as different surveys show buyers are likely to stay on the sidelines unless sellers are willing to lower prices by 5 to 15 percent.
Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest by number of offices, reported flat transactions last month.
Trading in Greater Taipei stabilized after some construction companies lowered prices to attract buyers, but softened in central and southern Taiwan due to increasing caution, Evertrust spokesman Lin Tai-lung (林泰隆) said.
“Many buyers prefer to wait and see, because they fail to see eye-to-eye with sellers over housing value,” Lin said.
The interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve might inspire the central bank to do the same by 12.5 to 25 basis points, Lin said, citing an internal survey.
Even if the central bank raises interest rates, borrowing costs would remain low, rendering little pressure on sellers to cash out, Lin said.
Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋), another major broker, said it saw an increase of 0.2 percent in transactions last month from November, led mainly by a rebound in Hsinchu.
Apartments with three bedrooms and priced between NT$11 million and NT$13 million (US$340,779 and US$402,739) in Hsinchu appealed to investors, as it is relatively easy to find tenants, the broker said.
Trading in Taoyuan increased 1.8 percent and by 2.6 percent in Koahsiung, but was slack elsewhere, Taiwan Realty said, adding that continued expectations of price corrections accounted for the lackluster showing.
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