Housing market may see a mild recovery: Sinyi

UPTREND::A seasonal peak in consumption and a more transparent housing price registration policy may give transactions a lift starting this quarter, the firm said

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 - Page 13

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋) said it expected the housing market to start rebounding from this quarter, as the global economy gradually recovers and the public becomes more familiar with the government’s real-estate transaction price registration policy.

However, the nation’s only listed real-estate broker said the uptrend would be modest, as economic fundamentals remain fragile.

“The housing market should have bottomed out in the third quarter,” Stanley Su (蘇啟榮), a manager at the broker’s market research department, told a quarterly conference with investors and analysts in Taipei.

The sluggish global economic sentiment and negative reaction to government policies, such as the increase in gas and electricity rates, were the main factors that dragged down property transactions this year, Su said.

However, sentiment is shifting as public pessimism over the economy and government policy is gradually waning, he said.

The government measure requiring real-estate buyers to register actual transaction prices — launched on Aug. 1 — should have a positive effect on the market through next year by helping boost price transparency.

“The measure had temporarily dragged down real-estate transactions, but it will enhance trading efficiency in the market [over the longer term] by offering clear information to both buyers and sellers,” he said.

A report issued by Fubon Securities Investment Services Co (富邦投顧) yesterday echoed Su’s views, saying that the housing market might see a slight recovery from the fourth quarter — when consumption hits its seasonal peak — in terms of both pricing and trading momentum.

Sinyi chief financial officer Sandy Chou (周素香) said the company’s office expansion plan for next year would be in line with the industry outlook, implying that the firm might slow its pace of expansion given still fragile global economic sentiment.

However, the broker is sticking to its strategy of focusing on Greater Taipei, where two-thirds of its outlets are located, given strong demand in the area, Chou said.

Sinyi launched 10 new outlets in the second half of this year, bringing its total number of offices in Taiwan to 390 as of the end of last month.

The broker posted a net income of NT$938.34 million (US$32.26 million), or earnings per share of NT$2.02, in the first nine months of the year, compared with a net profit of NT$929.44 million, or NT$2 per share, recorded a year earlier, company data showed.

Third-quarter net profit was NT$292.08 million, up 0.2 percent from a year earlier, but down 38 percent from the April-to-June period, statistics showed.

As for China, Chou said Sinyi would continue to look for appropriate targets to help it break even. Its net loss in China is expected to shrink 30 to 40 percent this year from a loss of NT$250 million last year.