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Housing transactions in Kaohsiung down over 20%

TAIPEI--Transactions of residential and commercial property in Kaohsiung fell more than 20 percent in August compared to a month earlier, a result of July's deadly gas explosions, market statistics showed Saturday.

It was a poor performance compared to the island's entire property market as a whole. Transactions of homes, shops and offices in Kaohsiung, the second largest city in Taiwan, fell 21.3 percent in August from a month earlier, while sales in Taiwan's entire property market rose 2 percent month-on-month, the statistics compiled from from real estate companies indicated.

In that month, transactions of residential and commercial property in Taipei and Tainan rose 4.9 percent from a month earlier, while transactions in New Taipei fell 5.9 percent month-on-month, the data showed.

Meanwhile, the property markets in Taoyuan and Taichung fared better, posting a 13.3 percent and 19.3 percent month-on-month increase respectively, data indicated.

Buying interest in the Kaohsiung property market has dampened seriously after the gas blasts, market analysts said, adding that the impact is more visible in the Lingya and Cianjhen districts, which suffered more losses due to the explosions. The blasts killed 31 and injured more than 300, while causing massive damage to the city's infrastructure.

Despite the steep decline in transactions in Kaohsiung, the explosions had little impact on property prices. Tseng Ching-der, a research analyst at Sinyi Realty, said that the average selling price for August in the city stood at NT$165,000 (US$5,500) per ping, little changed from July's NT$168,000. (One ping equals 3.3 square meters.)

In a research report, Sinyi Realty, one of Taiwan's leading property sales agencies, said property sales in Kaohsiung may recover gradually in September once the impact of the lethal explosions starts to fade.

In Taipei, the average selling price in August stood at NT$679,000 per ping, slightly down from July's NT$689,000, while the average selling price in New Taipei fell to NT$365,000 from NT374,000. These two property markets are the most watched in Taiwan.

In Taoyuan, the average selling price rose to NT$190,000 per ping from NT$185,000, while the average selling price per ping in Taichung and in Tainan fell to NT$194,000 and NT$135,000, from NT$195,000 and NT$136,000 respectively.

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