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Taipei housing market to continue booming: observers

Taipei's upscale housing market will continue to see a boom, driven by the cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), overseas direct flight links, and the injection of hot money, market observers were cited as saying yesterday.

Although the central bank raised interest rates by O.125 percent both in June and September, no further actions have been taken to dampen the housing the market, the observers were cited by the Central News Agency as saying.

According to the observers, the central bank's moves to curb the rising housing prices have only affected the low-end to mid-range residential segment.

Prices for residential and commercial units on the very top end of the housing market, as well as land in upscale areas, have continued to rise because of tight supply.

Land owners are reluctant to sell their property, anticipating further increases in prices, the observers said.

According to surveys conducted by housing agencies, the average prices of actual transactions in Taipei County, Taipei City and Kaohsiung City rose 3.14 percent, 2.17 percent and 1.14 percent, respectively, in October, compared to a month earlier.

A number of developments in Taiwan, and in Taipei in particular, are contributing to the strong housing market, they said.

The International Taipei Flora Expo, which opened yesterday, will generate momentum for the housing market in the city.

Taiwan is expected to open to individual tourists from China soon, promising a boom for the retail market, and indirectly the value of properties.

Having started direct flights to Shanghai and Tokyo, Taipei will begin such service to Seoul next year.

The U.S. government latest decision to adopt the so-called QE2 measure by injecting US$600 billion to stimulate the economy will send the currencies of Taiwan and other Asian nations rising, the observers said.

The housing market will see a flood of hot money, they added.

While Hong Kong's realty prices are already very high, Taipei's relatively lower prices may be more attractive for investors, the observers said.

Currently, the prices for a luxury housing unit in Hong Kong range from NT$500 million to NT$750 million per ping (36 square feet), but in Taipei, the most expensive ones in the Xinyi district are between NT$1.8 million to NT$2 million, they added.

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