Home sellers in Taiwan more actively seek buyers

BACK TO BUSINESS::Real estate agency Evertrust said the fading impact of a luxury tax has seen transactions rise 24.2% year-on-year in Q1, after a 9% drop last year

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, May 27, 2013 - Page 14

Home sellers in major municipalities in Taiwan have become active in seeking buyers now that a luxury tax on property has been in place for almost two years, which means that the impact of the speculation-curbing measures is fading, a real-estate agent said on Saturday.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), one of Taiwan’s leading property agencies, said the number of visitors from seven major municipalities to the sales service section of its online property transaction site has increased month by month this year.

Last month in particular saw a 55 percent rise from January, indicating that sellers have become more willing to sell, Evertrust said.

The seven cities are Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City and Greater Kaohsiung, Evertrust said.

The government’s luxury tax went into effect in June 2011 with the aim of curbing speculation that was causing housing prices to skyrocket, in particular in northern Taiwan.

The luxury tax mandates a 15 percent sales tax on second homes sold within one year of purchase and a 10 percent sales tax on properties sold between one and two years after they were bought.

With the implementation of the tax nearing two years, potential sellers who bought their property before June 2011 will not face the tax, Evertrust said.

Evertrust manager Kao Tsui-ping (高翠屏) said many potential home sellers visited the agency’s Web site to ask about the latest transaction statistics, including selling prices, while others were eager to know about tax issues, such as how to calculate the land value incremental tax and the transaction tax.

Kao said the questions show that they are preparing to dispose of their property.

On the buyer side, Evertrust said that the number of potential home buyers from the seven areas visiting the company’s online site also increased month by month this year, with the number of visitors last month up 34 percent from January.

The agency said potential buyers in Taipei showed the strongest interest to buy among the seven major areas, with the number of visitors to its online site last month rising 52 percent from January.

In the first quarter of this year, residential and commercial property transactions rose 24.2 percent to about 79,000 units from the same period of last year, after falling 9 percent year-on-year last year.

Market analysts said the significant growth in transactions partly resulted from the fading impact from the luxury tax.