Three social housing policy programs on way: Premier Wu


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Premier Wu Den-yih said yesterday that his Cabinet has outlined three programs for a social housing policy and that under one of the plans, the process of selling the surface rights for state-owned property has begun.

Wu made the revelation at a legislative hearing, but did not provide further details on which state-owned property he was referring to.

President Ma Ying-jeou recently answered a call from a civic organization promoting social housing with a promise that the government will increase the percentage of rented public housing in Taiwan to resolve the problem that more and more people are unable to afford a home amid rising housing prices.

According to the non-profit Social Housing Promotion Union, the percentage of so-called “rented public housing” in the country is as low as 0.08 percent, compared with 6.06 percent in Japan and 29 percent in Hong Kong.

As part of the government’s social housing policy, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin announced earlier in the day that the capital city will build 4,808 more units of public housing within the next four years.

With the already existing 5,986 units, the volume of such housing operated by the city government will have increased to 10,794 units by 2014, Hau said.

In the longer term, the city government will continue expanding the scale of public housing to a total of 20,329 units, he added.

On a different occasion that same day, Hau further explained his policies on building social housing and housing for young people who cannot afford to buy a home in the expansive city of Taipei, saying that they are based on models used in Singapore and the Netherlands.

Currently, the percentage of social housing — housing that is let at low rents and on a secure basis to people in housing need — stands at 0.64 percent in Taipei City, Hau said.

If he wins a second term as mayor in the year-end elections, Hau pledged, he will raise this to 1.29 percent within four years.