Presale and new housing projects slowed last month as developers and builders turned cautious after government agencies raised concerns about rising property prices and talked of measures to cool the market, the Chinese-language Housing Monthly (住展雜誌) said in a report released yesterday.
Presale and new housing projects in northern Taiwan totaled NT$93.4 billion (US$3.24 billion) last month, an 11 percent retreat compared with a monthly average of NT$105 billion in the first nine months of this year and 22 percent short of forecasts of NT$120 billion for the high season, it found.
Housing Monthly research manager Ho Shih-chang (何世昌) attributed the abrupt turn to talks of unfavorable policies by government officials to curb property prices, which have picked up noticeably in central and southern Taiwan.
The central bank met with major mortgage operators twice this month to warn against loose real-estate lending that could fuel property price hikes and threaten the stability of the financial system.
The bank said it would introduce selective credit controls if necessary to reverse the trend.
The Ministry of the Interior has announced plans to crack down on speculation of presale projects after media reports of irregular promotion campaigns.
Meanwhile, the Financial Supervisory Commission has asked banks to brace for inspections of their real-estate financing operations.
The slowdown is especially evident in Hsinchu County, where presale projects slumped 70 percent to NT$2.27 billion after local officials banned sales of presale projects that have not yet received building permits, it said, adding that the county earlier saw people waiting in line to buy such projects.
The phenomenon could be a marketing strategy to push up property prices, Ho said.
Presale and new housing projects amounted to NT$18.4 billion in Taipei last month, down 32.6 percent from the average in the first nine months, the report said.
Government officials are most sensitive about housing prices in the capital, where mortgage burdens take up more than 50 percent of household incomes, Ho said.
Presale and new housing projects dropped 7.5 percent to NT$40.1 billion in New Taipei City, from a monthly average of NT$43.3 billion in the previous nine months, it said.
Taoyuan bucked the trend, with presale launches and new housing projects rising 35 percent to more than NT$30 billion, it said.
Ho expects developers and builders to stay quiet and push back presale projects to next month to appease policymakers.
Things might return to normal after government officials drop the unfavorable rhetoric, he said.
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