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Property transactions fall in April despite boost in listings: poll

2018/05/05 15:01:15

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Transactions in Taiwan's property market fell in April despite a rise in the listing of homes that are being built or are newly completed, according to a survey conducted by real estate magazine My Housing, indicating potential buyers were still taking a wait and see attitude.

The magazine said April was a traditional peak season for the local property market and it was no surprise that property developers were keen to launch homes in the month to boost buying interest.

The real estate magazine said that out of the six sub-factors in the housing index for April, the sub-indexes for the listing of pre-sale homes still being built and the listing of newly-completed homes rose to 7.99 and 6.11, respectively, up from 7.26 and 4.16 seen in March, boosting the entire index.

As a result, My Housing said the housing index for April rose 1.5 points from a month earlier to 33.9.

But that does not tell the whole picture, as a significant drop in purchases caused the index to continue to flash a "yellow-blue" light, which means the market is experiencing sluggish growth.

In April, housing transactions fell about 10 percent from a month earlier, the magazine's findings showed.

It was the second consecutive month for the housing index to flash a yellow-blue light, even though it was also the second straight month for the index to move higher, according to the magazine.

Ho Shih-chang (何世昌), a research manager at the magazine, said the efforts by property developers to launch new homes in the market showed they were becoming more confident, adding that the number of newly-completed homes hit about 1,500 units in April.

Nonetheless, potential buyers were clearly still reluctant to make home purchases.

One of the reasons buyer sentiment remained weak was because of the continuing high prices, which are not affordable or are considered too costly for average wage earners.

Data compiled by the magazine showed that the total value of pre-sale homes in the month stood at more than NT$50 billion (US$1.68 billion), according to the magazine.

Ho said it remained to be seen whether transactions will increase in coming months due to the rise in supply. He said the new products generally carry a higher price tag, which may not interest potential buyers, who may instead shift their attention to the used home market, where products are less pricey.

The other four factors in the housing index, meanwhile, remained weak.

The sub-indexes for the amount of property advertisement and home price negotiations remained unchanged at 4.18 and 5.12, respectively, in April.

Perhaps more telling of buyer sentiment was that in April, the sub-indexes for the number of visits by potential buyers and transactions fell to 5.67 and 4.69, respectively, from 6.53 and 5.16 in March.

Ho said the survey results suggest that the room for home price negotiations has narrowed, indicating that property developers appeared reluctant to lower the price of newly-launched homes, which prevented transactions from being completed quickly.

Owners of used homes may also be reluctant to reduce prices, contributing to the continuing slump in Taiwan's property market.

(By Wei Shu and Frances Huang)
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