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May 28, 2017

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Commercial real estate sales triple year-on-year: local brokerage provider

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The trade volume of domestic commercial real estate increased by 3.2 times in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis, according to statistics released by local brokerage service providers.

The NT$27.3 billion in sales is a new high for the past four years, and a 35-percent increase from the last quarter. The average transaction price per ping for office buildings in Taipei City also hit a record high of NT$774,000, according to the latest figures from BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

The market spike was driven by investments from local firms and foreign private funds, which have shown strong interest in the local market, which was previously dominated by local insurers, according to Billy Yen, general manager at DTZ, an international property consultancy.

This February, Grand Industrial Limited Company of Baofeng bought several floors of an office building (B3-2F and 11F) on Dunhua South Road owned by Shin Kong Insurance at NT$8.8 billion, a record-high price for a commercial property transaction in Taipei City. Grand industrial is owned by the family of Tsai Hong-tu, Cathay Financial Holding chairman.

Fortuneland Real Estate Agency, a subsidiary of Hong Kong Phoenix Property Investors, bought the 7th-12th floors of a building owned by Zurich Insurance at NT$2.9 billion earlier this year. This deal is this year's first purchase of commercial real estate made by a foreign company.

This figure beats market expectations by a large margin, as the industry was generally pessimistic about first-quarter sales because recent auctions of several commercial buildings have failed to find buyers and the Financial Supervisory Commission introduced new measures to discourage insurance companies from buying commercial real estate.

The Financial Supervisory Commission announced several policy constraints on insurers' investments in the property market on Nov. 19, 2012, including raising the minimum yield from 2.12 percent to 2.87 percent and banning ownership transfers for commercial property within the first five years after acquisition.

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