Warming property market expected in 2013

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Property transactions in Taiwan are expected to warm up and recover after the number of housing transactions fell to its lowest annual level in 2012 since 2003, according to local brokers. "Although it experienced a low last year, we expect a steadily warming housing market amid the improving economy," said Liu Yi-jong, an executive at Taiwan Realty Co. According to government data, just 329,741 properties in Taiwan changed hands last year, down 8.84 percent from a year earlier, marking the lowest level since 2003. Liu attributed last year's low transaction volume to the poor economy worldwide and to various government property price-curbing measures, including a property price registration mechanism and a luxury tax. "The stagnant housing market is expected to pick up," Liu wrote in a recent statement. Sinyi Realty Inc. and H&B Realty Co. both held optimistic views about the housing market, expecting a recovery this year. Tseng Chin-der, a researcher at Sinyi Realty, said the housing market is expected to bottom out in line with the global and domestic economies. The housing market has shown signs of recovery, as it has gained strength since December 2012, which has continued through January this year, Tseng said. "We're expecting to see a nice Year of the Snake," he said, forecasting a warmer market in southern Taiwan. (By James Lee)