Property market stagnant in 2016, might rebound in 2017: analysts

The number of residential and commercial properties bought and sold in Taiwan may have fallen to a new low in 2016, with transactions in the country's six biggest metropolitan areas all recording year-on-year declines, analysts said Wednesday.

But after bottoming out last year, Taiwan's property market could stage a rebound at the end of this year, they said.

The number of homes sold in the six major cities fell 16.6 percent year-on-year in 2016 to 182,291 units, with unit sales slumping 28.1 percent in Taipei, 15.2 percent in New Taipei, 1.8 percent in Taoyuan, 26 percent in Taichung, 21.5 percent in Tainan and 10.2 percent in Kaohsiung.

Several leading real estate agencies said home sales may have hit a new low in 2016 and could show signs of rebounding at the end 2017.

Tseng Ching-der (???), a research manager with Sinyi Realty Inc. (????), attributed the decline in unit sales in 2016 to a higher number of people moving into new homes before a new tax reform plan to rein in property speculation took effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

The impact of the new tax measure seems to be fading, however, according to Tseng, who forecast that housing transactions in the first quarter of this year could post an increase from the same period last year.

He said the market could stage a technical rebound in transaction volume this year thanks to a series of measures by the government to encourage more activity in the property market.

Home sales in Taipei in 2016 hit a new low of 21,500 units, and the broader market for Taiwan as a whole may have fallen below the previous record low of 259,000 units sold in 2001, said Hsu Chia-hsin (???), head of research at H&B Business Group (?????).

Hsu was more optimistic about the property market's prospects this year, saying that if sellers are more willing to lower their asking prices, as has been the case recently, buying interest should perk up, leading to slight gains in transaction volume.

Chang Ching-yun (???), head of research at National Realty (????), also felt the housing market will pick up momentum this year thanks to more favorable property market policies and the low mortgage rate environment.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel