Sunday, October 10, 2010

Taipei Housing Prices to Remain High, NT on its way up

President Ma came to power strongly backed by foreign financial interests who also saw Taipei's real estate market as a good investment possibility. In the latter choice they were smart. From the China Post:
Prices of luxury apartments and office space in Taipei City's prime locations will continue to be high in the short-term, due to a strong rise of the local currency, analysts said yesterday.

The Taiwan dollar (TWD) has appreciated by a significant margin over the last couple of days, due to an influx of hot money into Taiwan as well as other parts of Asia, on the ultra-loose monetary policy announced by the United States.

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According to a recent survey of My Housing Magazine, as much as NT$109.5 billion worth of new apartments will be rolled out in northern Taiwan in November.

Institutional investors pointed out prices of luxury mansions and office space in prime areas of Taipei City will continue to be high, due to several factors besides a rising TWD.

Luxury mansions in Taiwan are mostly sold at NT$1.8 million to NT$2 million a ping, far less than the NT$7.5 million to NT$12.5 million in Hong Kong. Each ping is 3.3 square meters.

The article also observed that the wealthy have plenty of cash on hand, and that the government is no longer selling state-owned land. That restriction on supply has, as many foresaw, helped to sustain high prices in the Taipei market -- it is difficult to avoid concluding that keeping prices high is the reason for it, in fact. Yet another factor keeping real estate costs up is the expected increase in demand for office space as Chinese and foreign investors set up shop in Taipei to take advantage of ECFA.

A high NT (it hit 30 to the dollar last week) threatens Taiwan's exports by making them more expensive. To counteract the inflows of cash, the Taiwan Central Bank flooded the market with NT last week:
Sales of the island’s dollar failed to prevent the exchange rate from closing at a two-year high as all of Asia’s 10 most- active currencies rallied following Japan’s first cut in interest rates since 2008. Taiwan’s central bank last week raised borrowing costs for the second time this year and foreigners have pumped almost $3 billion into local shares since the start of September.
Some analysts are predicting that the Taiwan dollar may hit 29.75 by the end of the year. Economic growth and a rising NT are masking an unanticipated fall in exports, a report on Thursday noted:
Taiwan's export growth slowed for the second straight month in September and was much lower than economists had forecast.

The country's shipments grew 17.5% year-on-year in September, slower than the 26.6% increase in August, data from the Ministry of Finance showed Thursday. Economists had expected the growth rate to remain unchanged from the previous month's level.

Meanwhile, growth in imports outpaced exports by rising 25%, following a 28% gain in the previous month. Import growth also fell short of expectations of a 30% increase. Total exports amounted to US$22.4 billion during the month and imports totaled US$20.6 billion.
The good news is that exports to the major areas of Europe, China, and the US are all rising, and that orders are also booming:
Data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs released last month showed that Taiwan's export orders, an indicator of the Island's export performance in the coming months, rose 23.3% year-on-year to US$34.88 billion in August, a record-high, beating economists' expectations. Taiwan's economy relies heavily on its export sector. In the second quarter, the economy maintained its double-digit growth on the back of strong exports, growing 12.53% annually. The growth, however, was slower than the 13.7% expansion in the previous quarter.
All this positive progress on the economic front has yet to translate into advantage for the KMT at the polls.
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The NT should be allowed to go up. People should get used to higher wages and prices. The low NT is the selling of Taiwan's sweat and natural resources at artificially low prices for the benefit of the rich owners.

A rising NT should also decrease housing prices.

STOP Ma said...

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Why anyone would spend that much money for one of the ugliest big cities in the world is beyond me.

Hong Kong, I can sort of understand. But Taipei?! C'mon!
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