Property market contracts for 3rd straight month: poll

Taipei, Taiwan's property market flashed a "blue light" -- signaling contraction -- for the third consecutive month in February, reflecting a traditionally slow season, according to a survey conducted by the real estate magazine My Housing.

Citing the survey, the magazine said the housing index for February dropped 2.2 points from a month earlier to 28, with a score of under 32 points.

Under the listing of pre-sale homes, the amount of property advertisement and transactions, three of the six factors in the index, moved lower to drag down the overall performance, the poll showed.

The score in the February index even reached the level of January 2017, when the housing index stood at 25.6.

Under the system, red indicates overheating, yellow-red shows fast growth, green represents stable growth, yellow-blue signals sluggish growth, and blue indicates contraction.

The survey echoed recent property transaction data which showed February housing transactions in the six largest cities in Taiwan -- Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung -- fell 41.5 percent from a month earlier.

The decline reflected the reduced number of working days in the month as a result of the six-day Lunar New Year holiday. Last year, the Chinese New Year holiday was in January.

My Housing said the sub-indexes for the listing of pre-sale homes, the amount of property advertisement and transactions fell to 6.17, 3.58 and 4.69, respectively, from 7.26, 4.18 and 5.16 a month earlier.

Bucking the downturn of the overall index, the sub-indexes for the listing of newly-completed homes, home price negotiations, and the number of visits by potential buyers remained unchanged from a month earlier at 3.04, 4.78 and 5.76, respectively, in February.

Ho Shih-chang (???), a research manager at the magazine, said the slow season effects pushed down the amount of property advertisement by almost 30 percent from a month earlier to the lowest level since February 2016.

At the same time, the value of newly completed homes launched in February around Taiwan fell to a recent low of less than NT$20 billion (US$682 million) with most of the homes located in the greater Taipei area, Ho said.

He added that many home sellers remained firm on their pricing, reluctant to cut prices, which has slowed down the pace of transactions.

Property developers and many sales agents in most parts of the country have felt the pinch resulting from the weakening buying interest, Ho said.

But Ho noted that the momentum is expected to pick up in March, as the local property market enters a traditionally peak season running into June.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel