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Taiwan's richest rank second globally for home ownership: Knight Frank

Affluent Taiwanese trailed behind oil-rich Saudi Arabians in house ownerships, according to Knight Frank survey

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The most expensive luxury apartment,The Royal Castle, located in Xinyi District of Taipei.

The most expensive luxury apartment,The Royal Castle, located in Xinyi District of Taipei. (CNA photo)

Taipei (Taiwan News)—Taiwanese millionaires and billionaires ranked second globally for real estate property ownership, on average buying 4 homes, according to World Wealth Report 2017 published by London-based real estate consulting company Knight Frank.

Those in the top echelon of Taiwan's wealth pyramid trailed behind Saudi Arabia's counterparts' home ownership of 4.3, but tied with opulent Malaysians 4.0.

Affluent Taiwanese and Chinese buyers are increasingly active in the new-build market in the Kamogawa River Area in Kyoto, the report noted.

The report also found rich Taiwanese were spending more on private jets in 2016, jet ownership skyrocketed 367 percent to 14 compared to the previous year.

Combined Taiwan's cash rich population grew on average 5 percent, with more people becoming millionaires (US$1 million net worth), up from 98,200 to 103,100.

Multimillionaires followed in second from 3,500 to 3,680 in 2016, while ultra-high-net worth individuals (UHIN)—those with more than US$30 million net worth—climbed up around 5 percent to 1,380.

Least growth was seen among billionaires with only one new entrant in 2016, pushing total billionaires in the country up to 29.

Knight Frank projects a surge of 30 percent for people joining Taiwan's elite super-rich club by 2026.

Despite the positive outlook for the country's wealthiest, Taipei's luxury real estate market prices downed 8 percent from December 2015-2016, according to the report.

The figures are backed by local real estate agencies statistics, which showed value of luxury apartments in Dazhi was halved to its original price, selling at NT$1.45 million per ping (3.3 square meters) last December, compared to NT$2.91 million, at its peak.

Falling property value of apartments combined with steeper drops in residential real estate prices in Taipei, has led with the monthly House Price Index (HPI) dropping to levels close to four years ago.

Leading Taiwanese realty company Sinyi Realty's monthly report in January found the,HPI, which measures the price changes in residential housing, dropped to 119.84 in greater Taipei, edging near 119.21 in March 2013.

People aiming to invest in the luxury housing market should wait for the right timing, advised senior analyst Chen Ping-chen (陳炳辰) at Taiwan Realty.

Realty housing experts project prices for non-luxury apartments to decline to levels similar to 2005.

The current property value to household income needs to drop about 35 percent before property prices are deemed reasonable by the public, said HouseFun News's Cho Hui-hua (卓煇華).

At present, the ratio of property values is 15 times the average household income, in which both international and Taiwanese experts believe a more reasonable ratio will range between five to seven times the average household income for the purchase of a new 297-square meter property.