Housing transactions in 6 major cities down over 10% in October

An apartment building in New Taipei’s Xinzhuang District is seen in this undated file photo. According to government data, transactions of residential and commercial property in Taiwan's six major cities fell more than 10 percent in October from a month earlier. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Transactions of residential and commercial property in Taiwan’s six major cities fell more than 10 percent in October from a month earlier as Ghost Month still weighed down the market, according to government statistics.

In October, transactions of homes, shops and offices in the six largest cities – Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung – fell 12 percent from a month earlier to 15,154 units.

The October figure was also down about 3 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Consumers in Taiwan tend not to buy big ticket items like homes and cars during Ghost Month, which fell this year between Aug. 22 and Sept. 20.

Though Ghost Month ended before October, the reduced interest in buying property in September still affected the number of deals done last month, said Tseng Ching-der (曾敬德), a research manager with Sinyi Realty Inc. (信義房屋).

Tseng explained that home buyers usually spend about one month from the time they sign a purchasing agreement to go through the regulatory process and get their deal completed.

Only when a transaction is officially completed is it counted in government figures.

Transactions fell in all six cities in October with Taichung, seeing the steepest month-on-month decline of 18 percent to 2,704 units, the figures showed. Taichung’s unit sales were also down 9 percent from a year earlier.

New Taipei, the most populous city in Taiwan, saw transactions of residential and commercial property fall 15 percent, the second steepest decline, to 4,088 units. That was followed by a 14 percent month-on-month decline in Taipei to 1,683 units.

In Taoyuan, transactions of homes, shops and offices fell 8 percent from a month earlier to 2,705 units, and property sales in Tainan and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan both fell 6 percent from September to 1,471 units and 2,503 units, respectively.

Despite the October decline, transactions of residential and commercial property in the six major cities totaled 165,797 units in the first 10 months of the year, up 13.4 percent from a year earlier, the figures showed.

Tseng said that with the impact of Ghost Month fading, property transactions in the six cities are expected to recover in November.

Property sales in the six cities serve as a barometer for Taiwan’s property market. Tseng estimated that based on transaction growth in the six cities in the first 10 months of the year, sales for Taiwan as a whole could hit 270,000 units in 2017, up from 245,000 units in 2016.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, transactions of residential and commercial property for the first nine months of the year totaled 197,030 units, up from 175,787 over the same period of last year. 

By Wei Shu and Frances Huang