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Housing sales slump in Jan. following '13 hot streak

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Propelled by an exuberant market, housing property sales throughout Taiwan last year were tallied at 372,000 transactions, gaining 12.8 percent year-on-year while marking a three-year high, said the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) yesterday.

According to the governing body, in addition to persistent high demand, consumers last year exhibited a high level of willingness to buy homes at steadily rising prices.

Also, more property owners decided to put their houses on the market last year, propelled by expectations that the government will alter the assessment method for current land values. Reports indicated that a change may take effect this year that may lead to higher tax obligations for property owners.

The MOI, however, stated that following last year's stellar results, home sales declined markedly throughout Taiwan in January. Home sale volumes in Taipei City and New Taipei City declined by 7.3 percent and 20.1 percent respectively, while transactions in Taichung City tumbled sharply by 26.3 percent. The MOI attributed the outcome to the diminished number of business days in January on account of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Throughout January, homes sales in Taipei City were tallied at 3,202, down 15 percent year-on-year, a figure approaching a 12-year record low. Home sales were also predominantly concentrated around the Zhongshan (中山), Neihu (內湖) and Wenshan (文山) districts.

For New Taipei City, home sales reached 6,007 transactions, marking a 7.2-percent year-on-year decline. Home sales were concentrated around the Tamsui (淡水), Xindian (新店) and Banqiao (板橋) districts.

HB Housing (住商不動產) yesterday attributed January's discouraging sales performance to the holiday and Taipei City's already high pricing, which impacted transaction volumes significantly.

However, the Yungching Group (永慶房產集團), a real estate company, stated that sales reports from its numerous retail outlets indicate that home sellers grew by 10 to 15 percent in January from figures recorded in the previous month, expressing an upbeat outlook on February transaction volumes.

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