The local property market flashed “blue” last month, pointing to contraction, as potential home buyers stayed out of the market because of the Ghost Month taboo against buying property, according to a report by the Chinese-language Housing Monthly (住展雜誌) magazine.
Property developers tended to put their new projects on hold during Ghost Month, the magazine said.
The September housing index compiled by the magazine fell 0.8 points from a month earlier to 29.7, as Ghost Month on the lunar calendar partially fell in September, running from Aug. 22 to Sept. 19.
The magazine uses a five-color system to describe the local property market, with “red” indicating overheating, “yellow-red” showing fast growth, “green” representing stable growth, “yellow-blue” signaling sluggish growth and “blue” (when the index falls below 32) indicating contraction.
Last month was the third consecutive month the index fell below 32, according to the magazine.
In Taiwan, many consumers tend to refrain from buying big-ticket items such as homes and cars during Ghost Month to avoid bad luck.
Among the six factors in the housing index, two moved lower. The sub-indices for the launch of pre-sale housing projects and transactions were at 6.53 and 4.69, respectively, down from 6.90 and 5.16 points in August, the magazine said.
The sub-indices for four other factors — the launch of newly built housing projects, property advertising, price negotiations and potential buyer visits — remained unchanged, the magazine added.
Housing Monthly research manager Ho Shih-chang (何世昌) said that only about 300 new housing units were launched nationwide last month, and most of them were small and medium-sized units in projects valued at less than NT$1 billion (US$32.9 million).
Ho said no property developers launched pre-sale housing projects until around Sept. 28, considered one of the prime times of the year to put new units on the market.
The aggregate value of new pre-sale housing projects rolled out at the end of last month totaled nearly NT$35 billion, and most of the big projects topping NT$1 billion were located in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan.
Ho said some companies are using more aggressive tactics to sell their units.
The developer of a new housing project in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) is offering free interior design services and free parking spaces to buyers, while the developer of a project in Sindian District (新店) in New Taipei City is offering a free sports car with each transaction, he said.
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