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Foreclosed home sales fell in 2012

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Sales of foreclosed properties declined by 40 percent last year despite the economic downturn, the latest data released by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) indicated yesterday.

According to the MOI data, a total of 9,585 foreclosed homes were auctioned off last year, a decline of 40 percent from 2011 and the lowest since 2003.

Experts said they were surprised by the decline in foreclosed property sales, which should be conversely proportionate to the economy.

According to them, when the market is bullish, fewer houses go into the foreclosed auction block. Conversely, during a bad year, homes are taken away from people unable to fulfill mortgage payments and are subsequently put up for auction.

“Last year was different,” said Tseng Ching-te, analyst with Sinyi Realty. “In 2012, total home sales in Taiwan fell to 329,000, a ten-year low, due to various disincentives including the European debt crisis, the luxury tax and the real-price home registration system. Common sense dictates that during times like these, foreclosed home sales should go up.”

“But,” he added, “Sales went down in most Taiwan metropolises, including Taipei, where foreclosed home sales stood at 545, a decline from 2011's 752, and New Taipei City, where sales stood at 879, a decline from 1,112 from 2011.”

According to experts, while the economy was sluggish last year, unemployment was low, and so were interest rates. As a result, people were still able to pay their mortgages and keep their houses, they said.

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