Survey reveals discontent over property

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 3

Less than 50 percent of people think the disclosure of real sales prices, enforced by the housing transaction price registration rule that took effect last year, has been successful in curbing surging property prices, a survey by the Consumers’ Foundation showed yesterday.

Noting that Consumers International had declared that the theme of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, observed annually on March 15, was “Consumer Justice Now,” the foundation said it saw this as chiming perfectly with the cause of residential justice they are championing in Taiwan.

Despite the implementation of the transaction registration measure in August last year, which was designed to enhance house sale transparency and thus circumscribe market speculation, it seems that consumers are not happy with the results, with only 43 percent of the people polled seeing the transaction registration measure as effective in curbing soaring home prices, the foundation said.

The survey showed that of 913 respondents, 489, or 54 percent, think housing prices in Taiwan are “too high,” while 42 percent believe them to be “relatively high.”

Foundation secretary-general Lei Li-fen (雷立芬) said the numbers mean 96 percent of Taiwanese consider property to be “high.”

Another point worth noting, added Wang Chin-hsiang (王進祥), convener of the foundation’s housing committee, is that 20 percent of those surveyed have no knowledge of the transaction registration mechanism.

Even more worrying is that of the 20 percent who did not know about the mechanism, as many as 57 percent are aged between 31 and 50, falling into the age group that best represents home-buyers, he said.

Although 84 percent of those polled know about the registration system and believe the data provided to be valuable, and 86 percent take them into account before purchasing properties, a majority (52 percent) are unhappy with the system, viewing it as flawed or incomplete.

“For example, those renting without a real-estate broker are not required to register; also, the real-estate developers of pre-sale homes are exempt from filing the data as long as the contract signed with the real-estate agent is still effective,” Wang said.

According to the rule, the agents selling pre-sale homes for developers are required to file the transaction data 30 days after the contract expired.

However, developers can circumvent this obligation by selling without a real-estate agent or prolonging the contract to conceal the market price.

The foundation is urging the government to take action by both promoting and improving the transaction registration system.

Wang also strongly advised consumers to be find out more about the rules and be more active in purchasing homes.