Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

United Daily News: Civic groups launch 'Housing Movement' in Taipei

United Daily News: Civic groups launch 'Housing Movement' in Taipei

Scores of civic groups launched a "Housing Movement" in Taipei last night to protest against soaring housing prices and demanded what they called "housing justice" from the government. It has been 25 years since a similar movement was initiated in the city, reflecting the government's long-standing inaction towards land and housing policies. Several government heads have recently demonstrated their resolve to stem high housing prices, and the measures adopted by the central bank have shown some preliminary results. Hong Kong has the world's highest housing prices to income ratio at 14.9 times, according to a global survey released earlier this year. However, the ratio for Taipei is even higher at 15 times. Stagnant salaries, a gloomy economic future and high housing costs were some of the factors that triggered the "Sun Flower Movement" which drew thousands of student protesters to take to Taipei's streets earlier this year, analysts pointed out. The cross-Taiwan Strait trade-in-services agreement, which was at the center of the March protests, was actually the last straw to break the camel's back. Apart from this aspect, the cost of owning a house per year is even lower than owning a car in Taiwan. Such a tax structure will certainly lure more funds into the housing market rather than into substantive investment. Against such a long-term backdrop, real investment in Taiwan has shrunk, resulting in lower labor productivity and fewer job opportunities. Most Taiwanese are supportive of the government's plan to curb soaring housing prices, but it is not the only thing it can do. To develop the housing market more comprehensively, the government should overhaul the current taxation system for real-estate transactions and prevent speculators from racking up unreasonably high profits in the market. In addition, the government, in cooperation with the private sector, should engage in the construction of more only-for-rent houses for those unable to buy a home, regardless of their age or occupation. Doing so will help drive down the growing housing prices and fend off idle money from flowing into the housing market. However, we must remind the government that the construction industry is billed as the locomotive of Taiwan's economy and it should be very careful while implementing measures to bring down housing prices. The public will not be happy if these measures adversely affect other sectors. (Editorial abstract -- Oct. 5, 2014) (By Flor Wang)


Updated : 2021-10-18 16:32 GMT+08:00