Housing transactions take hit on stock market, politics

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Sep 07, 2011 - Page 12

Taiwan’s major housing brokers saw their transactions shrink by double digits last month from a month earlier after stock market turmoil and unfavorable political rhetoric sapped confidence.

Home trading at H&B Realty Co (住商不動產), the nation’s largest real-estate broker by number of franchises, declined 13 percent last month from July, when the market showed signs of recovery from the implementation of a special sales levy known as the luxury tax, head researcher Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨) said in a statement.

Hsu attributed the pullback mainly to the drop in the TAIEX, which tumbled 10.46 percent last month amid Europe’s debt crisis and following the downgrade of the US’ sovereign credit rating by Standard & Poor’s.

“Prospective home buyers turned cautious as the global economic picture grew increasingly grim,” Hsu said.

The greater Taipei metropolitan area bore the brunt of the decline, with transactions plunging 20 percent in some districts, Hsu said without supplying trading values.

The proposed property tax reforms by the ruling and opposition parties helped suppress transactions, a trend that might extend beyond the third quarter through the presidential and legislative elections in January, Hsu said.

Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, reported a 6.8 percent retreat in home trading volume last month from July, while home prices dropped 3.6 percent, the company said.

Housing transactions weakened 8 percent in Taipei City and 6 percent in New Taipei City (新北市), Sinyi chief researcher Stanly Su (蘇啟榮) said, pinning the blame on equity corrections.

“The tumultuous stock market is eroding people’s wealth, plunging transactions for housing units priced at NT$20 million (US$687,000) or more,” Su said.

Home trading remained unaffected in Taoyuan County and Greater Kaohsiung, where home costs are more affordable, Su said.