Sunday, July 25, 2010

Taipei Land Prices Hit New Highs

It will be interesting to see if this impacts the election, just a few months away. The China Post reports:
The Taipei County Government successfully sold yesterday all of the 12 commercial use land lots in the region earmarked as Xinzhuang City auxiliary metropolitan center.

Competitive bidding from investors lifted the price to a record high level for land transactions in the county.
The issue is clearly illustrated at the end of the report:

Other analysts concerned about the runaway housing prices said the county government is making the same mistake as Taipei City by selling off public land and helping fan the fire for realty speculation.

Under mounting pressure and complaints, the Taipei City Government has now adopted a new strategy of holding the land and building housing units in cooperation with construction firms, to provide citizens with more apartments with affordable rent rates.

Runaway housing prices in Taipei and other metropolitan areas have long been rated among the top complaints held by the people against the government.

It's a long-running complaint, and as long as the island's domestic political economy runs on land speculation and construction, it will continue to be a complaint. Construction, development, and financial firms competed for the lots, on which they expect to put up apartments which they will sell at inflated prices. Luckily a buyer is born every minute! This report remarks that although sales of state-owned land have been forbidden, it is done anyway. A recent piece by Jens kastner highlights the role of Taiwan businessmen from China in driving the boom. This Aug 2008 piece in Commonwealth Magazine said prices would fall, though reports I saw prior to the 2008 election said that everyone expected prices to rise, and that investors should look at firms with large land holdings in the Taipei basin.

Taiwan's high land prices appear to be a silent driver of rising income inequality. They are also an important way that voters experience their own falling purchasing power.

Another indicator: last week the urban land price index, compiled twice annually, skyrocketed:
Taiwan's urban land price index has risen 2.49 percent since last October, marking the biggest increase in the past 17 years, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) reported Wednesday.


The latest MOI-compiled urban land price index showed that land prices increased most steeply on the outlying island of Kinmen during the six-month period at 6.61 percent, followed by a 4.35 percent surge in Taipei County and a 4.31 percent gain in Taipei City.

The Kinmen County government said the rise was mainly fueled by the central government's decision to begin construction of a long-discussed Kinmen Bridge late this year and the launch of many investment projects by the county government to develop the island county into a tourist and duty-free shopping paradise.

The KMT Administration also passed an NT$200 billion bill to revitalize 4,000 rural villages in Taiwan, just in time for the elections. The vote was carried out after the DPP walked out of the legislature.

REFERENCE: A PRC media report on one of Taiwan's most pricey developments.
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Arty said...

Taiwan population is either flat or decreasing right? However, always remember, market can stay irrational longer than most people can stay solvent!

Michael Turton said...

Hahah well put. Taiwan's population is decreasing. I was thinking about that as I was recording all this yesterday. That's why the financial institutions want China to come over.


Chaon said...

Those Japan Focus articles reek of 9/11 Truther stench.

The articles are supposed to "engage important anomolies [sic] in early ROK official accounts"?

Hell, I can play that game all day long, with any event you name.

Michael Turton said...

LOL. Did you read any?

Chaon said...

Read three of the original four. Same tone and tactics used by conspiracy theorists since Kennedy got shot.

From the LA Times article:

"more than 20% of the public doesn't believe North Korea sank the Cheonan".

Bwah hah hah hah. More than 20% of *any* public believes in demonic possession, that the world is going to end in 2012, or that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. Once again, I can play *that* game all day long too.

Michael Turton said...

The point is that all these stories have been out there for three months, and not picked up by the media in the West.

Same tone and tactics used by conspiracy theorists since Kennedy got shot.

ROFL. I prefer to wait until the evidence is in. Otherwise I'd probably still believe that a couple of gay lovers blew themselves up along with 50 of their pals in the turret of the Missouri, or that N Vietnamese patrol boats attacked US vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, or that there were WMDs in Iraq, or that North Korea made an unprovoked surprise attack on South Korea in time of peace, or that the kill ratio of US to North Korean/USSR fighters was 10:1. Etc.

You don't have to buy any particular theory to understand that an investigation conducted by nations currently at war with North Korea, in which the sole international member quit, isn't valid. Taught by history, I'll wait for the evidence.


D said...

@Karl: "Those Japan Focus articles reek of 9/11 Truther stench."

Hear hear.

@Michael: "You don't have to buy any particular theory to understand that an investigation conducted by nations currently at war with North Korea, in which the sole international member quit, isn't valid."

I agree with you totally. I think that the PRC, Russia, Venezuela and Iran will conduct a much more unbiased investigation and I will await their verdict before I rush to judgment on this. If they determine that "it's hard to say conclusively what happened", I guess we'll have to live with that.

But seriously, the reason I think this is interesting is it exhibits a historically evolved creditability gap at work in these post-authoritarian East Asian countries. 20% of South Koreans doubt the report because they don't trust anything their government does, especially not Lee's conservative party, and they hate the US for propping up the anti-democratic regimes of the 40s to 70s. On the other side, you have the paternalistic idiots in the government who just dismiss these doubts as irrational, instead of realizing that their own way of handling things -- behind closed doors, summary evidence, "it's so because I say so" logic -- only adds fuel to the fire. It's a sad situation, really. You wonder how they're going to get over this historical hump.

Similar situation for the KMT in Taiwan, no? Perhaps not as extreme though.

Michael Turton said...

I could accept a US government investigation easily, provided that it wasn't of something that the US and South Korea have a long history of lying about, when lying serves their purposes better than an uncomfortable truth might.

I hope that the US will grow up and release the data that the conclusions are based on. But somehow I don't think that will happen.

D said...

@Michael: "when lying serves their purposes better than an uncomfortable truth might"

The problem is that their conclusion, that North Korea attacked, seems like the most inconvenient one for South Korea and the US. Wouldn't it have been much easier to admit that the ship hit a reef, or was accidentally sunk by a US submarine, or was sucked down by a hitherto unknown race of mutant sea urchins? Unless you think there's a strategic decision to ratchet up tension with North Korea? Which puts us back on the "the CIA blew up the WTC to provoke a war" line of thinking. I guess it's possible, but....

Obviously the investigation, or at least the presentation by ROK, wasn't handled well. But to jump from that to doubting its conclusions? Not so sure about that. But like I said, it's of a piece with this blog's take on the KMT -- "[do not] trust [at all, ever], but verify". Ha ha ha. Get out your Reagan sweater.