Wed, Mar 01, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Housing transactions rise: brokers

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Major property brokers reported a noticeable pickup in housing transactions last month as buyers regained some confidence after local governments stopped unfavorable rhetoric against the market.

However, prospective buyers have mostly adopted a wait-and-see attitude, making the recovery slow and fragile, if not premature, they said.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate broker by number of offices, said it saw buying interest last month grow 20 percent from January, while transactions held relatively steady, despite holiday disruptions.

There was a 19 percent annual increase in transactions over the past two months, suggesting the market might have hit the bottom and has begun to climb, Evertrust research manager Jay Hsieh (謝志傑) said.

Increased transactions were evident in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, where housing prices fell more than 10 percent from their peaks in 2014, a more acceptable level for buyers, he said.

A trial run of the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Mass Rapid Transit line has shortened the commute time between Taipei and Taoyuan, boosting buying interest along the rail network, Hsieh said.

However, insignificant price corrections continued to constrain transactions in central and southern Taiwan, Hsieh said.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed real-estate broker, arrived at similar conclusions, saying that housing deals picked up 27 percent in the past two months from a year earlier.

Transactions in Taipei and Taoyuan rose 32.8 percent and 37.4 percent respectively on the back of pent-up demand, Sinyi research manager Tseng Ching-der (曾進德) said.

“Buyers scared away by unfavorable policies have started to return to the market now that governments on different levels appear satisfied with the success of cooling measures,” Tseng said.

The change in attitude should gradually and steadily lift market confidence from a trough last year, during which housing transactions slumped to a record low, Tseng said.

Sinyi Realty’s development arm recently acquired two plots of land totaling 920 ping (3,041m2) in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) for NT$1.07 billion (US$34.91 million), on which it plans to build a residential apartment complex.

The land acquisition showed the firm’s optimism about the property market, despite a protracted soft patch, the company said in a statement.

Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋), another major broker, reported a steep increase in property transactions nationwide last month, led by Taoyuan.

Apartments at least 15 years old and priced between NT$11 million and NT$13 million were particularly popular among buyers with self-occupancy needs, Taiwan Realty said.

Buying interest for storefronts along the airport metro line intensified over the past two months, it added.

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