Expert urges ban on loans for Taiwan’s overpriced real estate

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A Taiwanese business expert has urged the nation’s central bank to formulate more stringent measures to control housing prices

Professor Chang Chin-er of the National Chengchi University said loans given to people purchasing homes with a unit price of 1.5 million Taiwan dollars (US$50,180) a ping (3.3 square metres) or above should not only be restricted but outright banned.

Chang made the appeal during a news conference where it was announced that Taiwan’s home price-to-income ratio for the first quarter was 8.2, while the figure for Taipei was 12.2.

A number of 12.2 means residents of Taipei need to forgo food and water for 12.2 years before they can purchase a house.

According to the Construction and Planning Agency, home sales in Taiwan during the first quarter totaled 36,148, a decline of 17 per cent compared to Q4 2011 and 40 per cent compared to Q1 2011.

Prices, meanwhile, averaged 8.38 million Taiwan dollar ($280,342), a decline of 5 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 8 per cent year-on-year.

On average, unit prices stood at 220,000 Taiwan dollars ($7,359) a ping, or 3.3 square meters, in Taiwan and 510,000 Taiwan dollars ($17,061) in Taipei.

The average area of homes purchased was 40.1 pings in Taiwan, a decline of 0.6 per cent compared to Q4 2011.  The figures for Taipei City and New Taipei City were 35.9 pings and 35.2 pings, respectively, a decline of 6.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

For Taiwan, the mortgage burden rate was 33 per cent, and the figure rose to 45 per cent for Taipei.

“Taipei and New Taipei homebuyers are likely to switch to small-area and medium-priced homes due to the burdens of home ownership,” Chang said.

“Many people have expressed the belief home purchases will affect their quality of life.  This is negative for a healthy development of the home market and the society in general.”