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Taiwan ranks 6th hottest home market from '06 to '11: CNBC

The China Post news staff--Taiwan's housing prices posted an average growth of 30.1 percent between 2006 and 2011, for the sixth-highest growth of its kind among the world's 10 hottest property markets, according to a report released Monday by to U.S. cable business news network CNBC.

CNBC put together the top 10 list based on research by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank, which ranks countries according to highest average growth in housing prices from the fourth quarter of 2006 to the same quarter in 2011. The national five-year averages reflect mainstream housing prices in most major cities in all the listed countries except China, which only includes home prices in Beijing and Shanghai.

Taiwan is one of the world's most densely populated countries, and rapid urbanization has led to crowded housing conditions in Taipei, the nation's biggest metropolitan city, CNBC reported.

CNBC cited Knight Frank-compiled tallies as indicating that despite housing prices rising more than 30 percent on average between 2006 and 2011, Taiwan saw prices dip 4.1 percent in 2011 as a result of tightening measures including the "luxury tax," which was implemented last year.

A 10-percent tax is now levied on any investment property sold within two years of its purchase, rising to 15 percent if the property is sold within one year. The tax does not apply to properties the owners live in. The length of time it takes to sell a home, however, fell to a six-month low in March, pointing to signs of recovery in the local housing market, CNBC cited data of Taiwan's largest mortgage broker H&B Realty as indicating.

By contrast, China is rated as the world's hottest property market, with housing prices in major cities Beijing and Shanghai having surged by 110.9 percent in the past five years, the highest among the world's hottest realty markets, as the world's second biggest economy experiences rapid growth.

A home in Shanghai's s prime areas cost US$19,400 per square meter or US$1,800 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2011. In Beijing, the same home cost an average US$17,400 per square meter or US$1,600 per square foot, according to Knight Frank.

Hong Kong came in second, with prices recording average growth of 93.7 percent during the five years. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the average price of a home in prime areas was about US$47,500 per square meter or US$4,400 per square foot, the fourth-highest in the world. As a major global financial center, the city overtook London last year as the world's most expensive office rental market, according to Knight Frank.

The other seven among the world's hottest property markets are Israel, with housing prices rising 54.5 percent between 2006 and 2011; Singapore at 50.5 percent; Columbia at 39.4 percent; Norway and Canada at 28.7 percent; Malaysia at 28.5 percent; and Switzerland at 27.5 percent.

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