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Fubon patriarch buys prime property

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Fubon Group (富邦) founder Tsai Wan-tsai (蔡萬才) yesterday acquired a parcel of prime real estate in the coveted Daan District, following numerous earlier precedents of notable property purchases.

Tsai purchased an aged 718-ping Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫) dormitory complex situated in the residential area of Xinyi Road, section 4 at the cost of NT$2.67 billion, or about NT$3.628 million per ping. A ping is approximately 3.306 square meters.

A real estate company commented that despite government policies aiming to suppress runaway housing prices and gloomy market prospects, a number of developers and financial conglomerates have been ramping up acquisition efforts. The Fubon Group's life insurance arm won the auction for the surface rights to the A25 plot in Xinyi District and a 2,747-ping property situated on Changchun Road (長春路), section 1 in Zhongshan District (中山區), spending about NT$26.48 billion in total.

Taipei Immediately Hikes Hoarding Tax

In an effort to deter rampantly rising housing prices, Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) yesterday announced that house taxes imposed on homeowners with multiple residences to their name will be increased by as much as 2 percent.

Chang explained that the measure is specifically designed to combat the practice of hoarding residential properties common among real estate speculators. Residents owning more than two properties which they do not reside in will see their house taxes raised from 1.2 percent to 3.6 percent, while house taxes for those with less than two non-primary residence properties will be raised from 1.2 percent to 2.4 percent. Chang however, declined to comment on the efficacy of ongoing measures in curbing skyrocketing home prices. Market observers commented that the change is not expected to yield significant results in suppressing home prices. With the threshold set to affect only homeowners with more than three non-primary residential properties, only two percent of the populace, or about 12,000 homeowners will be impacted.

High-Valued Land Transactions Undeterred

Meanwhile, high-valued land transactions remain undeterred among heavyweight investors and speculators, as indicated by the latest update on the Ministry of the Interior's actual transaction price registration system for May published yesterday.

A high profile commercial building in Ximending (西門町) with an estimated value of NT$3.95 billion was discovered to be commanding prices reaching around NT$3 million per ping in the coveted first and second floors. The building changed hands earlier in April this year, netting its original owners profits of NT$1.15 billion since acquiring the building for NT$2.8 billion.

Real estate companies stated that certain commercial properties in a stellar location pose an especially viable long-term investment for life insurance companies, adding that acquisitions often represent the better option as opposed to lengthy and complicated development initiatives.

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Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) gives an address at a press conference in Taipei, yesterday. Chang announced that the house tax imposed on homeowners with multiple non-primary residences under their names will be increased as a countermeasure against the hoarding of real estate property.

(CNA)

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