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Taoyuan gains popularity among first-home buyers: realtor

TAIPEI--More and more first-time home buyers in northern Taiwan are looking for housing in Taoyuan County amid inflationary pressure in the country and ever-rising housing prices in Taipei, realtors said Sunday.

With many viewing real estate as a safe bet to overcome inflation and Taipei's housing prices having risen to as high as NT$3.04 million (US$103,085) per ping (3.3 square meters), first-time home buyers in northern Taiwan are increasingly turning to Taoyuan as a destination for home purchases, according to statistics provided by online property service HouseFun.

About 30 to 40 percent of housing in Taoyuan is now purchased by first-time home buyers from New Taipei City, said HouseFun.

The realtor attributed the rise to anticipation that Taoyuan will become the country's sixth special municipality, along with a mass rapid transit system from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei expected to be completed in two to five years.

The realtor's website showed that Taoyuan recorded the highest growth among major metropolises in the country for the number of people looking for housing in the area, with 39.71 percent growth in March compared with the same month of last year.

Ni Pei-ching, a spokeswoman for Taiwan Realty Co., said, however, that the housing market for the first quarter of this year around the country in general was not as strong as last year.

The home purchase ratio for the first quarter of this year stood at 0.9 percent, down 0.64 percentage points from the same period of last year, she noted.

Chang Kai-ti, a manager at the same company, said housing purchases in Taoyuan for principal residences accounted for 70 percent of the total, indicating that property investment was not the main purpose behind housing purchases in the area.

Despite the growing trend of residents in Taipei looking for housing in Taoyuan, HouseFun said that strong housing supplies there might lower prices in the area.

Housing supplies in March in Hsinchu County topped the list around the country, followed by Kaohsiung and Taoyuan, according to statistics compiled by HouseFun.

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