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Housing transactions up in Greater Taipei in '13

TAIPEI -- Transactions of residential and commercial property in the Greater Taipei area for 2013 grew from a year earlier, indicating that the local property market was still booming despite a series of government measures to curb speculation, according to statistics compiled by Sinyi Realty Co.

A total of 39,496 units were sold in Taipei City in 2013, up 2 percent from a year earlier, reported Sinyi Realty Co., one of Taiwan's leading property sale agencies.

Tseng Ching-der, an analyst with Sinyi Realty's research division, said in December alone, transactions of homes, shops and office space in Taipei hit 3,456 units, the highest level in five months.

He said that indicated the city's property market remained stable.

The most populated city in the area, New Taipei City, recorded housing transactions of more than 80,000 units in 2013, up 16 percent from a year earlier, Sinyi Realty said.

As for southern Taiwan, housing transactions in Tainan City also registered strong growth of 11 percent from a year earlier, the statistics showed.

In December, transactions in New Taipei and Tainan also hit a new five-month high, the statistics showed.

Tseng said Zhongshan and Neihu districts in Taipei were the two most popular areas for home buyers to post higher housing transactions, while Wenshan District came in third. Tseng said home buyers favored property in Taipei largely for self-dwelling purposes.

In New Taipei, Tseng said a sufficient supply in newly built homes served as a driver to push up transactions in the city, with Tamsui, Xinzhuang, Xindian, Zhonghe, and Banciao districts topping home buyers' preference lists.

In particular, Tseng said, urban rezoning activity in Tamsui and Xinzhuang prompted many property developers to launch new residential property to stir up buying interest.

Meanwhile, the latest property price registration information showed that sale of a six-ping (1 ping = 3.3 square meters) shop located in the Shilin Night Market fetched NT$4.47 million (US$149,000) per ping, making the property the most expensive shop in the night market, which is on the itinerary of tours for many Chinese and other tourists.

According to Sinyi Realty, small-sized shops in Taipei have been favored by most property investors. Their investments have pushed up the sale price of some stores with an area of less than 11 pings to between NT$23 million and NT$53 million.

Tseng has previously said that he remained upbeat about property prices in the local market by taking ample liquidity into account after the central bank left its key interest rates unchanged for 10 quarters in a row.

He said with interest rates low and inflation expected to rise, high liquidity could encourage buyers to enter the market and become more willing to accept the already high prices.

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