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March 25, 2017

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Shopfronts sell like hotcakes in Taoyuan: survey

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Bolstered by the Taoyuan Airport MRT, Greater Taoyuan's storefront market saw its transaction values soar sharply in 2016 to second place among the six special municipalities, according to a housing brokerage firm.

Greater Taoyuan saw NT$10.12 billion in storefront market transactions last year, accounting for 14.7 percent of all storefront transactions in Taiwan, up from NT$7.83 billion or 9.9 percent in 2015.

Among Taiwan's six special municipalities, Taoyuan ranked No. 2 for storefront transactions in 2016, up from No. 5 in 2015, according to statistics released by housing brokerage firm UM Housing Group.

Yeh Li-min, an analyst at UM Housing, said storefront transactions in Taoyuan were booming partly due to market expectations surrounding the long-awaited Taoyuan Airport MRT, which opened for commercial operations this year.

Transactions were up also because of the formation of new commercial zones amid an influx of residents.

Taoyuan's storefront transactions was second only to Taipei in 2016.

Taipei recorded total storefront transactions of NT$13.4 billion last year, down 8 percent or NT$1.18 billion from NT$14.58 billion in 2015, though its national market share edged up slightly from 18.4 percent to 19.5 percent.

Two Unfavorable Factors

Yeh said the market decline in Taipei was caused by the nation's lackluster economic performance and the shrinking number of tourists from mainland China.

She said the same two factors sent the overall storefront market turnover down to NT$68.5 billion in 2016, down 13.5 percent or NT$10.7 billion from 2015.

Of the six municipalities, New Taipei City suffered the largest drop in terms of transaction value, falling under the NT$10 billion level to NT$9.75 billion in 2016, sharply down NT$4.38 billion from NT$14.13 billion in 2015 and retreating to No. 3 among the special municipalities.

The central city of Taichung saw the transaction value plunge 32 percent to NT$7.8 billion in 2016 from NT$11.5 billion in 2015.

According to Yeh, storefront prices in both New Taipei and Taichung had repeatedly hit new highs over the years till 2015, due mainly to sharp increases in inbound tourist arrivals from mainland China.

Investors Stay on Sidelines

Although average prices declined slightly in the two cities in 2016, the prices of the so-called golden storefronts in popular business zones remained high, translating to only a 2 to 3 percent investment return rate and deterring investors from stepping in from the sidelines, she said.

Yeh pointed out that Tainan, like Taoyuan, had fared well in the storefront market in 2016.

The city's storefront turnover edged down NT$120 million from 2015 to NT$3.78 billion in 2016, but its national market share rose to 5.5 percent from 4.9 percent.

Yeh said that the performance owed itself largely to Tainan's efforts in developing its tourism industry and attracting foreign tourists.

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