Last year’s housing sales hit 13-year low: ministry

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Feb 03, 2015 - Page 13

Sales of homes in Taiwan last year were at their lowest since 2002, data from the Ministry of the Interior showed yesterday.

The domestic housing market recorded a total of 320,598 deals last year, down 14 percent from 2013.

The figures are the lowest in 13 years, as unfavorable income tax plans and political elections cooled buyers’ interest.

The chilling effect has yet to come to an end, as property transfers declined 23.5 percent in Taipei last month, from the same period last year, according to government statistics.

Altogether, home trading managed to beat forecasts and stay above the 320,000-unit mark, thanks to the completion of new apartment complexes toward the end of the year, Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, said.

However, the showing for the year is the bleakest since 2002, when the local housing market was depressed in the aftermath of the collapse of the dot-com bubble, Sinyi researcher Tseng Chin-der (曾進德) said.

The decline is broadly based, but led by New Taipei City, with 60,416 deals last year, shrinking 25 percent from 2013, the ministry’s data indicated.

Taipei came in second place with 32,023 transfers, down 19 percent from a year earlier.

“This time, the elections of local administrators in November and ongoing talks regarding heavier income taxes on property gains accounted for the sluggish market,” Tseng said in a statement.

Housing deals in Greater Taoyuan recorded a dip of 14 percent to 43,662, suggesting that speculators started to cash out following its upgrade to special municipality status in December, Tseng said.

The market appears to have not yet hit the bottom, given the pace of the decline, Tseng said.

Housing transfers slumped 23.5 percent to 2,448 units in Taipei last month, down 23.5 percent from a year earlier and 19.9 percent from December.

Home transactions recorded a 3.7 percent contraction to 1,705 deals in the southern municipality of Tainan, showing the bear market is not limited to northern Taiwan.