Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Evertrust poll expects an increase in housing sales

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Housing transactions could approach 60,000 units this quarter, an increase of 40 percent from the same period last year, as price corrections have boosted buying interest, although further concessions are probably needed to revive the market, Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) said yesterday.

A total of 61 percent of respondents in a quarterly survey expect housing prices nationwide to fall, down from 64 percent from the previous quarter’s poll, with 50 percent looking at corrections of between 5 and 10 percent, the nation’s largest broker said.

“The findings suggest an extended soft patch ahead despite a modest uptick in sentiment,” Evertrust research manager Jay Hsieh (謝志傑) told a news conference.

Price fall expectations linger even though the economy is improving and policymakers end what has been perceived as unfavorable rhetoric against the market.

Housing transactions nationwide totaled between 37,000 units and 38,000 units in the first two months of the year, and could approach 60,000 by the end of this month, a relatively high season, Evertrust general manager Yeh Ling-chi (葉凌棋) said.

That would represent an increase of 35 to 40 percent from the same time last year, thanks to a low comparison base and a fragile recovery in confidence, Yeh said.

He said it is too early to speculate on a solid recovery as housing prices remain on a downtrend.

“A recovery takes place when housing prices stabilize for two consecutive quarters and transactions show a substantial increase,” Yeh said, adding he had not seen either yet.

The surge in transactions might slow to 10 percent next quarter in the absence of low-base benefits, Yeh said.

All eyes are on the result of the spring sales season that starts this week and runs through next month, he said.

Aside from luxury home projects, construction volume is likely to remain relatively flat this year from last year, Yeh said.

About 90 percent of the respondents said they have felt the price declines, but are looking for an additional drop of between 5 and 10 percent before they join the market, according to the survey.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents think it would be wise to sell homes as the low-interest era could soon be over after the US Federal Reserve raised borrowing costs earlier this month and indicated room for two more hikes this year.

Taiwan’s central bank might follow suit in the final quarter or early next year, Yeh said.

More than 80 percent of respondents said an interest rate hike of 0.75 percentage points would be tolerable, but borrowing costs would be a heavy burden if the rate were to rise above 2.5 percent, the survey found.

“People have grown used to the low-interest rate environment, with mortgage loans averaging 1.83 percent,” Yeh said.

The latest Evertrust Rehouse survey polled 1,090 people from Feb. 24 to March 10.

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