How housing policy helped Taichung top Kaohsiung

Taiwan's second and third cities subsidise housing

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Rental and interest-free mortgage subsidies underpin Taichung's growth

Rental and interest-free mortgage subsidies underpin Taichung's growth

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Taichung City's population has surpassed Kaohsiung City, and one of the key factors is it's housing policy.

According to Ministry of the Interior statistics, as of the end of July 2017, New Taipei City has the largest population of Taiwan’s six municipalities, at 3.98 million people. Taichung City is next with, 2.77 + million, it tops Kaohsiung, which is in third place, by just 300 people. Then comes Taipei with 2.68 million, Taoyuan City, with 2.17 million, and Tainan City, with 1.88 million.

The Taichung City Government recently set up a dedicated residential development section, with the goal of constructing 5,000 units of social housing in 4 years, and 10,000 in 8 years.

A Taichung City Government official said that as early as 2013, it started to offer a subsidy of 0.5% on mortgage interest to young residential property purchasers in Taichung City. Those between 20 and 45 years of age whose household registration was in the city were eligible up to a maximum of NT$3 million for one year.

Now, a new scheme expands this considerably. The city government cooperated with the Ministry of Interior's Construction and Planning Agency to set up an "integrated housing subsidy program" to provide three types of residential subsidies: rental subsidies, interest-free mortgages for private housing and interest-free mortgages for social housing.

The maximum monthly subsidy for rental housing is NT$4,000 for a maximum period of 12 months. The maximum subsidy for an interest free-mortgage for the purchase of private housing is NT$2.1 million and the repayment period is 20 years. The maximum amount of the subsidy for interest-free mortgage for social housing is NT$800,000 and the maximum repayment period is 15 years.

By contrast, the Kaohsiung City Government only started to offer housing subsidies this year. It too offers rental subsidies, and interest-free mortgages for both private and social housing. Currently, 9,399 households have applied for the maximum NT$3,200 monthly rental subsidy. There are 469 households who have taken up interest-free mortgages of NT$2.1 million for private residential housing and 246 who have taken up an NT$800,000 interest-free mortgage for social housing.

The Taichung City Government is anticipating further population expansion and set up a Housing Development Department in July this year. It aims to create 5,000 units of social housing in 4 years, and 10,000 in 8 years. It has earmarked 13 sites across the city for development. As a ratio against wages, it takes Kaohsiung citizens about 8.17 years of income, to buy their own home, and Taichung citizens, 9.37 years.