Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) The number of construction permits issued by the government rose more than 10 percent from a year earlier in the first seven months of this year, according to data released Friday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).
The data shows that the number of construction permits rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier to 15,623 in the seven-month period. Meanwhile, the number of the total gross floor area (GFA) covered by the construction permits also rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to 18.87 million square meters, the data indicates.
Construction permits serve as an important barometer to show the interest of property developers in launching new projects and in turn, indicating how the local property market is faring.
Despite the double-digit growth in both construction permits and the GFA, Liu Pei-chen (劉佩真), a research fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), said it remains to be seen whether the local property market has bounced back.
Liu said the growth in the two sets of data was a technical rebound, at a time when the local property market remained in a downtrend.
The economist said the local property market has been faced with a supply glut, so even though the value of the newly launched housing projects is expected to hit NT$1 trillion (US$32.47 billion) this year, less than 40 percent of the projects are expected to be sold.
Liu said the local property market remained awash in empty homes.
According to the data, 10.41 million square meters in the GFA recorded, or 55.1 percent of the total for the first seven months, were for residential housing projects, up 31.8 percent from a year earlier.
The data shows that the floor areas for industrial and warehouse use accounted for 23.5 percent of the total in the seven months, office space made up 5.5 percent and areas for other commercial uses represented 2.7 percent of the total.
The DGBAS said the GFA in the six special municipalities -- Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- for the seven months hit 12.23 million square meters, making up 64.8 percent of the total in the country.
The GFA in Taichung made up 14.6 percent of the country's total GFA, the largest level among the six in the seven months, ahead of Taoyuan (11.9 percent), Taipei (11.7 percent), Kaohsiung (10.4 percent), Tainan (9.8 percent) and Taipei (6.4 percent).