Sinyi Realty Inc planning further China expansion

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - Page 13

The nation’s major real-estate brokers aim to increase their outlets and employee numbers by double digits next year on the back of recovering transactions despite sales volume dropping to a nine-year low this year amid unfavorable conditions.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker plans to expand its number of outlets by 20 percent next year from the current 1,449 to 1,732 to meet a growth in business. Sinyi also owns the H&B Business Group (住商不動產), the largest home brokerage by number of franchises.

“Unfazed by the global economic slowdown, Sinyi will press ahead with plans to grow its market share and upgrade into an international brand,” chief strategy officer Howard Chou (周莊雲) said.

Toward that end, the company intends to hire 3,000 new staff next year with a guaranteed monthly salary of NT$50,000 (US$1,716) for six months, to meet the needs of its growing business as the home market is likely to have bottomed out by then. The group will focus on expansion in China, where Sinyi plans to increase its outlets next year by 18, giving it a total of 84, while H&B will add 51 outlets, taking it to 336, Chou said.

“The soft patch in China is temporary,” China-based Sinyi manager Hsin Hung-chun (信泓浚) said.

Market demand and economic recovery will boost the property market as evidenced by a 17 percent increase in revenue for the first 11 months from the same period last year, Hsin said.

Existing home transactions are estimated to shrink to 328,000, a 10 percent drop from last year as the special sales levy continues to weaken supply and the real price-registration requirement sidelines buyers.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), Taiwan’s largest real-estate agency by number of branches, forecast that home transactions would pick up 5 percent to 10 percent next year driven by liquidity excess and low borrowing costs.

“While the government dislikes sharp housing price hikes, it is unlikely to introduce new tightening measures,” Evertrust president Benson Liao (廖本勝) said. “Instead, policymakers may want to consider axing the special sales levy in June, two years after the tax failed to induce a price correction only serving to chill trading.”

Evertrust has been hard hit by sluggish transactions, with profits declining 20 percent this year even though the group managed to increase sales by 15 percent year on year to NT$530 billion, Liao said.

The group, which also owns U-Trust Realty Co (有巢氏), aims to increase the number of its offices by 120 and its payroll by 3,600 people next year, Liao said.

Evertrust intends to keep its operations in China unchanged next year as concerns over potential housing bubbles linger, he said.

Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋), another leading broker, plans to expand aggressively next year by boosting its outlets to 1,500 in Asia in the first half of the year and to 2000 six months later, from its current 422.

The company, which launched a new brand — Umei Realty (優美地產) — last month, is poised to tap into emerging demand in Chinese communities across Asia, company manager Jack Chou (周鶴鳴) said.

In line with the expansion, Taiwan Realty plans to recruit 5,000 real-estate professionals in the region, Chou said.

In Taiwan, the home market is likely to see a 10 percent rebound in terms of trading volume with flat prices next year, as buyers and sellers regain limited confidence.