《TAIPEI TIMES》 Cabinet approves plan to curb property speculation
Property advertisements are posted outside a real-estate office in Taipei yesterday. Property advertisements are posted outside a real-estate office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
/ Staff writer, with CNA
The Executive Yuan yesterday approved a series of measures aimed at reining in real-estate speculation, including a proposal to mandate public disclosure of the price and address of all properties sold in the nation.
The move came after the Cabinet passed draft amendments to three property laws — the Real Estate Broking Management Act （不動產經紀業管理條例）, the Land Administration Agent Act （地政士法） and the Equalization of Land Rights Act （平均地權條例） — proposed by the Ministry of the Interior at a regular Cabinet meeting earlier yesterday.
In a statement, Premier Su Tseng-chang （蘇貞昌） said the four-point plan would increase market transparency, while also protecting the right to privacy, and would help keep housing prices at a “reasonable” level.
Specifically, the measures would improve the system for publicly disclosing property prices, strengthen reporting requirements for transactions involving pre-sold houses, give regulators more power to conduct investigative audits, and increase the penalties for providing inaccurate information or failing to report sales, Su said.
The ministry said the public disclosure plan would make the price and full address of all real- estate transactions searchable to the public — an improvement on the current system, which only lists the approximate location of the property.
Another element of the plan relates to pre-sold houses, which are often purchased by investors and then quickly resold at a profit, thus driving up property prices, the ministry said.
Currently, real-estate agents hired to sell pre-sold houses are only required to report their sales in bulk within 30 days of the completion of their contract.
However, under the proposed changes, realtors would have to report the transactions individually within 30 days of each sale, giving potential buyers a more timely understanding of property prices, the ministry said.
The Cabinet’s plan would empower the ministry to investigate suspicious transactions by requesting documents directly from financial institutions and government agencies, thereby reducing the burden on local regulators, the ministry said.
The plan would also increase penalties for people who fail to report or falsely report property transactions at least three times, raising the maximum fine from NT$150,000 to NT$750,000 （US$5,262 to US$26,310）, and allowing for them to be fined multiple times, the ministry said.
The Cabinet also approved proposed amendments to the Income Basic Tax Act （所得基本稅額條例） drafted by the Ministry of Finance to close a loophole that allows real-estate investors to avoid taxes by purchasing properties under a company name.
The measures are to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for final approval.