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Taiwan’s presidential candidates address housing crisis

Reporter Isabel Wang
Release time:2024/01/07 17:37
Last update time:2024/01/07 17:37
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — With the 2024 presidential election in Taiwan just six days away, candidates from the Kuomintang (KMT), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) are vying for young voters' support, focusing on critical issues like low wages and soaring rental and housing costs.

During December 2023 policy presentations, opposition parties KMT and TPP criticized President Tsai Ing-wen for falling short of her promise to deliver 200,000 public housing units within eight years, achieving only 90,000 in 7.5 years. Both KMT's Hou Yu-ih and TPP's Ko Wen-je questioned the feasibility of DPP's Lai Ching-te's plan to build one million social housing units if elected.

 

Lai has vowed to add 500,000 units by 2032 and allocate NT$30 billion for rental subsidies, while Hou plans to increase social housing construction through city and land redevelopments, proposing a tenant waiting list mechanism. Ko suggests integrating public spaces into social housing, releasing unused government buildings for local renovations, and implementing a nationwide waiting list system.

"Using social housing waiting lists is the mainstream approach in other countries," explained Liao Ting-hui, a researcher from the Social Housing Advocacy Consortium. "Everyone will know the average waiting time once the list is created. Hence, if the elected leader is unwilling to build social housing, they will face more concrete public scrutiny."

Lu Ping-yi, CEO of Tsuei Ma Ma Foundation, highlighted the changing election dynamics: "In the past, in the final 30 days before the election, there were usually attacks revealing each other's weaknesses. Apparently, this time, they have sensed the social needs and atmosphere, indicating that the youth vote is crucial in this election."
 

Despite various housing policies and rental subsidies proposed by all parties, experts and NGO groups remain concerned. Encouraging youth to buy houses without addressing the root causes of rising rental costs leaves them unable to afford homeownership, as noted by Chang Chin-oh, a retired professor of the Department of Land Economics at National Chengchi University. 

"Though KMT's home loan plans provide incentives, home buyers still need to repay the mortgage. The key issue is high property prices. It seems people can afford a house, but what if they can't repay it? They may choose not to have kids due to the pressure of mortgages," said Chang.

Taiwan's housing price-to-income ratio hit a record high of 9.82 in the second quarter of 2023, according to the Ministry of the Interior, underscoring the significant challenge candidates face in implementing their housing policies.
 

National Elections

Taiwan Affairs

#Taiwan#presidential election#candidates#housing#KMT#DPP#TPP#youth vote#social housing#rental subsidies
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