Most people in Taiwan own their own apartment. However, record-high housing prices are prompting fears of a property bubble. House prices were up 19.97% during 2009-2010. Many residents have chosen to purchase property outside of overpriced Taipei. This has developed a strong suburban market. The average house price in Taipei City in April 2010 was NT$462,000 per ping. A "ping" is a system of measurement based on rectangular units the size of a traditional Japanese tatami mat (90 cm x 180 cm or 1.62 square meters).
Many Mainland Chinese investors have purchased properties in the Taipei market. Houses in Taiwan were relatively affordable compared to houses in China and Hong Kong. Record-low interest rates of 1.25% have also had an effect.
The government has worked to counter this surge by implementing stricter credit procedures, increasing the supply of low-cost housing and discontinuing the sale of government-owned lands. The Ministry of Finance is also contemplating on the implementation of a progressive real-estate tax system.
Buying property is very similar to buying property in Western countries. For foreigners without any previous registration in Taiwan (such as family connections or Taiwan passports), they must request approval for property acquisition from the Department of the Interior to establish a “household registry.” Foreigners can only purchase land for personal, investment, and social welfare purposes. Approximately twenty U.S. states have mutual agreements in place with Taiwan that facilitate the purchase of property in Taiwan. Real estate agents within Taiwan can advise you on other countries with similar agreements.
It is highly advisable to hire a trustworthy estate agents. Not only will the a good estate agents help you find a property, but they will be familiar with local laws, make sure the price is fair, and navigate the complicated paperwork.
To find a estate agents, networking can again be very important. Seek recommendations from friends and contacts. It is also possible your company employs a estate agents or firm that you can personally hire, or in cases of relocation, hire through the company.
Century 21 is one of the most recognized firms here, and internationally. o YungChing Real Estate is one of the best real estate firms in Taiwan and offers excellent customer service. In addition, International Real Estate Digest has a section on Asia and Taiwan with links to real agent agents, relocation services in Taiwan, with most sites in English and Chinese.
Expect to pay about 5 percent of the house's market value as a commission.
Searching for real estate online is one of the simplest way to get an idea of the properties available and values. Here are several sites offering a variety of properties:
It is also possible to purchase land units. Land units are differentiated into urban and rural. Rural lots are sold in measurements of hun, which are the equivalent of 300 ping each. Build able urban lots are measured by the same ping unit used to measure the interior of a house. An average price would be approximately NTD 1,000,000 for 35 ping, the size of land required for a townhouse.
Loans at extremely reasonable rates are available through local banks. Money from highly regulated financial institutions can also be wired into Taiwanese banks. If you are able to afford it, purchases in cash are easiest and avoid issues associated with carrying a mortgage with a foreign bank.
A home buyer is expected to register with the respective Land Registration Office the change in ownership of a property. A registration certificate lists the transfer date, property size and owner of the land and building and title of the lien, if any. Registration is usually processed through a land notary and it takes one day to change the property title after filing with the Land Registration Office. The whole process should take around five days to complete.