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H1 property transactions near 9-year low: ministry

TAIPEI--Property transactions in Taiwan for the first half of this year fell to an almost nine-year low, reflecting the implementation of the luxury tax which aims to curb market speculation, according to the government statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior Saturday.

According to the statistics, transactions of residential and commercial properties on the island in the past six months fell 20.9 percent to about 159,000 units.

The luxury tax, which took effect in June 2011, imposes a 15-percent sales tax on second homes sold within one year of purchase and a 10-percent sales tax on properties sold between one and two years after they were purchased.

The statistics showed Yilan County recorded an increase in property transactions during the six-month period, while other counties and cities around the island witnessed their numbers fall.

Kinmen County suffered the steepest decline in transactions number, down 37.97 percent from a year earlier, ahead of Taipei City with a drop of 36.48 percent and New Taipei with a fall of 33.93 percent, the statistics indicated.

The ministry said property transactions largely took place in the five municipalities — Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City — and Taoyuan County. The six areas accounted for 78 percent of the total property transactions.

New Taipei made up 20.1 percent of the island's total property transactions, the largest portion, followed by Taoyuan with 14.2 percent and Taichung with 14 percent.

The average floor area per unit of Taipei property transactions was the smallest in the local property market with 25.41 pings (83.85 square meters) after Keelung City with 25.91 pings, and New Taipei with 28.73 pings.

Yunlin County had the largest average floor area per unit in property transactions with 52.06 pings, ahead of Changhua County with 50.44 pings and Nantou County with 48.47 pings.

According to the statistics, the number of properties that were sold for the first time, largely new homes, in the past six months fell 3.7 percent from a year earlier to 44,000 units.

However, the total floor area of the particular segment rose 12.4 percent from a year ago, the statistics said.

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