Fri, Jun 30, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Rebound in housing sales slows: Evertrust Rehouse

LOW COMPARISON BASE:Evertrust’s Yeh Ling-chi said it would be a mistake to increase prices, which could lead to a sluggish market in the second half of the year

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The rebound in housing sales has slowed this quarter and might moderate for the rest of year as expectations of a further fall in housing prices dampen buying interest, a quarterly survey by Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) showed.

The nation’s largest broker by number of offices raised its full-year forecast for housing transactions for this year from between 250,000 and 260,000 to between 255,000 and 270,000, or an increase of between 4 and 10 percent from last year.

“The worst is likely over, but confidence remains fragile,” Evertrust general manager Yeh Ling-chi (葉凌棋) told a news conference on Wednesday.

The survey showed that 57 percent of respondents expect housing prices to fall next quarter and more than 60 percent believe it is not wise to sell or buy properties.

The findings suggest little room for a price rebound and concessions on the part of sellers remain the key to facilitate transactions, Yeh said.

Housing transactions in seven major cities totaled 102,641 units in the first five months of the year, a 19 percent increase from a year earlier, Evertrust Rehouse said, citing government data.

That confirmed a slowdown from a 30 percent pickup in the first quarter.

Like other economic barometers, the housing market benefited from a low comparison base during the January-to-March period, but the effect is in the process of diminishing.

“It is a mistake to take the improvement as a sign to increase prices or be inflexible, which could lead to a sluggish market in the second half of the year,” Yeh said.

Most respondents expect housing prices to fall by another 5 to 10 percent, after pulling back from a peak in 2014 by 13 percent, while about 58 percent said they would consider returning to the market when prices fall by about 15 percent, according to the survey, which collected 1,002 valid samples between May 29 and June 11.

Buying interest is stronger in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan, where further price corrections would motivate more than 60 percent of prospective buyers, the survey said.

The sentiment is bleakest in Taipei, where 58 percent of respondents prefer to stay on the sidelines, it found.

A government survey last week showed that it would take the average household 15.18 years to pay for a home in the capital.

House prices nationwide were 9.32 times the average household income.

The recent stock market rally has failed to lend support to property transactions in the nation, as local investors mostly played spectator this time, while foreign players increased holdings, Yeh said.

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