Property market set for data

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Page 13

The house price registration requirement will start to offer guidance on the nation’s property values today when the government is due to publish the first batch of data it has collected since Aug. 1.

The much-anticipated disclosure may cause a splash on the property market, where developers have the upper hand in setting prices and many buyers have opted to stay on the sidelines, after the legislature late last year adopted the measure requiring compulsory registration of property deals.

National Chengchi University land economics professor Chang Chin-o (張金鶚) in a commentary yesterday urged the public to stand by the measure, which may lead to price volatility in the short term.

“The data release will shed some light on the housing market, where buyers have been an underdog due to an information gap,” said Chang, who has predicted a price correction for years and advised buyers to be patient.

The registration measure is the first step to straighten out the nation’s housing market and more time is needed for authorities to collect sufficient data for reforms, such as heavier property taxes based on the real prices, he said.

Some will suggest scrapping the registration rule, which stipulates buyers, brokers and agents must file transaction details or face fines of between NT$30,000 (US$$1,019) and NT$150,000, Chang said.

Properties with soaring prices may receive further support if their values prove genuine, Chang said at a recent real-estate forum, adding that corrections will await for overvalued properties.

While house prices in general remain unresponsive to tightening measures, speculators reportedly are dumping houses in Sinjhuang (新莊), New Taipei City (新北市), at up to a 30 percent discount, he said.

Construction on many pre-sale projects in the district will soon be completed, subjecting owners to heavier mortgage burdens, after speculative funds have inflated property prices there by more than 50 percent over the past few years, analysts said.

The predicament also plagues new housing projects in Linkou (林口), New Taipei City, where the planned extension of the mass rapid transit system is pushing prices to unreasonably high levels, analysts said.

Property transactions fell 15.7 percent month-on-month last month in Taipei to 2,796 units, down 20.3 percent from the same period last year, city government data showed.

Trading volume fell 3.69 percent in Greater Taichung and 1.78 percent in Greater Kaohsiung last month, compared with a month earlier, according to municipal statistics.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) analyst Tseng Chin-der (曾敬德) expects buyers and sellers to remain at loggerheads over pricing because they will have different readings of the data.

“Apartments in the same building have different prices due to their different floor plans and other conditions,” Tseng said.