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Real estate prices in Hsinchu to rise: survey

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Fourty-three percent of Taiwan's population believe that housing prices will stay level in the first quarter, while Hsinchu is forecast to command the best prices.

Sinyi Realty (信義房屋) conducted an online survey in December 2013 after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would taper off quantitative easing (QE) and while the Ministry of Finance said that there is a housing bubble in Taiwan.

Sinyi's survey shows that 43 percent of the population predicted housing prices to stay level in the first quarter, while 33 percent forecast the prices to drop, and 24 percent said prices will climb. Nevertheless, about 40 percent of people believe that the prices of their homes are currently rising.

The survey also showed that most people believe real estate is a safe investment tool compared with other financial tools.

In regard to locations that command the best price, Taipei, the first place winner of the previous survey, lost slightly to Hsinchu and fell to second place this time. The New Taipei City, Taichung City and Taoyuan area fell to third, fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Business Boom Helps Hsinchu's Market

According to Sinyi Realty research manager Tseng Chin-der (曾敬德), in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, housing prices in Hsinchu have not climbed as much as those in other major cities of Taiwan. Therefore, housing prices in Hsinchu still have room to increase.

Tseng said that housing prices in Hsinchu almost equates with business performance at Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park. Businesses' performances started to improve from a low in 2013, Tseng said, adding that business revenues reached NT$924.76 billion between January and October last year, which was a 7-percent growth year-on-year. As business improved, so did the job market, which was reflected in the housing market and people's optimism regarding the housing market, Tseng said.

In regards to how the tapering off of QE will affect the housing market, 53 percent of the population thinks that housing prices will drop, while 15 percent predict housing prices will rise and 32 percent believe housing prices will not be affected.

In relation to consumer prices, 48 percent of the survey said they consider real estate as a tool to hedge against inflation, while 43 percent did not hold this idea.

While the government has stated repeatedly that there is a housing bubble in Taipei, the surveyed reported neither a particularly pessimistic nor optimistic outlook toward Taiwan's housing market; instead they held a neutral outlook, Sinyi Realty said, adding that the real estate market in 2014 is expected to stay level.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 17 and 26, and received a total of 1,434 responses.

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