Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) The central government will stop funding affordable public housing projects but will constuct more public housing reserved only for renting and will increase subsidies for low-income people, Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen said Wednesday.
Answering questions from Chou Ni-can, a lawmaker of the minor opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union, at a hearing of the Legislature's Interior and Ethnicity Committee, Chen said the decision has been made because the impact of providing affordable public housing to curb soaring house prices has been limited and that there are scarce land plots available in Taipei and New Taipei for construction.
The government launched the affordable public housing program in 2010 to help lower-middle income families buy a house and has started construction of these houses in in New Taipei's Linkuo and Banqiao. Some 9,000 units at the two sites have been sold. According to Chen, the government has plans to build 34,000 public housing units within 10 years and will subsidize 65,000 lower-middle income families to rent a house.
Taiwan has the one of the world's highest house price-to-income ratios at around 15, and high house prices have been the public's top grievance for more than two decades. (By C.C. Hsieh and Flor Wang)