Saturday, August 25, 2012

High-end Taiwanese project to launch here

Straits Times: Sat, Aug 25

A LUXURY tax imposed on Taiwan's booming residential property market last year has hit sales but is not deterring one developer from marketing a property here.

Chinese blue-chip real estate developer Vantone will launch a Taiwanese project here this weekend, aimed at high-end buyers.

The firm's confidence is despite gloomy sales figures in the island caused by the new tax.

The levy, which applies if owners sell their homes within two years, helped send transactions in Greater Taipei down 49 per cent year-on-year in the second half of last year.

Sales were down 35 per cent year-on-year in the first half of this year.

The tax was brought in to curb speculation and a runaway boom. Taipei City home prices surged 175 per cent over the past eight years even as prices in Greater Taipei have been relatively stable.

Greater Taipei is the largest metropolitan area in Taiwan, with nearly seven million people. Taipei City is at the tip of Greater Taipei and is known for its scenery.

Yet Vantone and property consultancy CBRE, the project's sole marketing agent, are optimistic about the development.

Called Vantone 2011, the 294-unit luxury project is being built near the Yangmingshan, a tourist spot in Taipei City.

The units - two-, three- and four-bedders and penthouses - range between 1,557 and 4,001 sq ft and will be housed in two towers of 29 storeys each.

Prices range from $749,000 to about $2.1 million.

It is near the Kuo Hua Golf and Country Club, other tourist attractions, train stations and international schools.

The development will also have a private club with function rooms, yoga studios, gyms and an underground hot spring.

Marketing began last year in mainland China, and in Hong Kong earlier this year, and about 160 units have been sold.

Mr Johnny Yu, CBRE's senior director for residential in northern China, said the developer is confident that the project would interest people here as a possible holiday home.

Singaporeans can apply for loans when the project is completed at the end of 2014, a policy that applies to all foreign condo buyers in Taiwan.

The loan quantum for Singaporeans stands at 50 per cent of the sales price. Interest rates are at 2 per cent.

Mr Yu said Singaporean buyers will be able to enjoy a 4 per cent rental guarantee for the first three years after the project's completion. "With the rental guarantee, investors will find it attractive to hold on to their property," he said.

"Sellers will have to pay a luxury tax if they sell their property within two years of purchase - 20 per cent of the sales price within the first year of purchase and 15 per cent within the second year of purchase."

Mr Yun Dajun, managing director at Vantone Real Estate (Beijing), pointed to Taiwan's stable political climate and pro-enterprise policies, adding that the economy is projected to grow at 4.92 per cent this year.

"Buoyed by low interest rates, real estate transaction volumes in Taiwan have been steadily increasing," he said.

CBRE's Mr Yu added: "Taiwan's real estate is at a trough of its cycle, which means it is on the brink of an upturn. Costs are competitive, enhancing its attractiveness as an investment haven."

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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