The climate gauge for the presale property market in northern Taiwan last month flashed a “blue” light for the fourth month in a row, as transactions remained sluggish amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a report by Chinese-language Housing Monthly (住展雜誌) showed yesterday.
The market sentiment reading stood at 30.7, 1.8 points higher than the level in February, as the sub-indices on new supply and the number of prospective buyers showed a mild improvement, while transactions, advertisement batches and price concessions saw little change, the monthly survey found.
“The findings suggest the market remained in the woods, although the climate gauge stopped losing further ground,” Housing Monthly research manager Ho Shih-chang (何世昌) said.
Presale projects totaled NT$50 billion (US$1.66 billion), despite a jump in COVID-19 infections in Taiwan, mainly attributable to people returning from abroad, it said.
Presale projects valued at more than NT$1.5 billion were seen in Taipei’s Zhongshan (中山), Daan (大安) and Xinyi (信義) districts, as well as in New Taipei City’s Sindian (新店) and Jhonghe (中和) districts, the survey showed.
About 700 newly completed homes in New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District (新莊) and Taoyuan came on the market, it said.
The volume represented a sizable retreat from the same period last year, reflecting a drop in confidence among developers and builders.
The market reported 6,000 advertisement batches to help facilitate deals, quite low for the spring sales season, Ho said.
However, the number of potential buyers saw a mild gain, at 18.9 groups per week last month, compared with 17.9 teams per week in February, it said, adding that 1.6 of them made purchases, compared with 1.5 one month earlier.
Ho said it would be a mistake to interpret the small advance as a sign of recovery, noting that February is usually a low season for the property market and the absence of a concrete improvement is concerning.
Buying interest among people with real demand also took a nosedive from the middle of last month, when the virus swept across Europe and the US.
On the other hand, investors started to make inquiries, as some apparently sought shelter in real estate given the volatility in financial markets, Ho said.
The pandemic is likely to continue to affect the market in the near term, the analyst said.
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