Apartment purchase in Taipei

Just looking for some friendly advice on the following subjects. By way of background, I am U.S. born and bred, and my wife and her parents are originally from Taipei. We have many relatives still living in Taipei and Kaohsiung. We are looking into purchasing an apartment in Taipei, to be occupied a few months a year by my wife’s parents and by us.

  1. Although our Taiwanese relatives are honest folks, we would prefer transacting this business ourselves. How difficult do you envision this being, especially given that we are all U.S. citizens and are living across an ocean?

  2. Is leaving an apartment unoccupied much of the year asking for trouble?

  3. What is a very rough estimate of the purchase price for a 3 bedroom apartment, not necessarily at Western standards but definitely on the new or nicely renovated side, in a fun neighborhood (near public transportation, night markets, etc.)?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Not a problem to buy an apartment. From my understanding, according to reciprocity (albeit sometimes unevenly interpreted), if Taiwanese people are allowed to purchase real estate in your state in the US, then you should have no problems in buying real estate here. However, getting a loan is a whole different story.

As for the price ranges – they vary considerably depending on size, facilities, location, whether they are in Taipei City or country, and proximity to important things (MRT etc). We have a four year old three bedroom 29 ping apartment in Taipei City. We paid 10,000,000NT dollars for it. For something new and modern, I would say this range is the norm.

As for leaving it unattended, that shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, all the new apartment buildings have guarded security.

  1. Will you get a loan from a bank in Taiwan to finance the property? If so, then it would help to put the house in your Taiwan wife’s name (under her Taiwan passport /ID) and then you will still need another guarantor with property in Taiwan. Even though you would think that the property itself is the guarantee if you default on the loan, the banks in Taiwan like to still get a back-up in the form of another Taiwan ID holder / property owner. So you most likely will need your wife’s parents help.

  2. Leaving the apartment unoccupied shouldn’t be a problem? What problem do you foresee? Really there shouldn’t be any problem, not sure what you mean or why you asked this? If you mean break-ins, then put bars on your windows if you are worried about that.

  3. Figure NT$200,000 to NT$450,000 per ping (3.3 Square meters) for flats in Taipei. NT$200,000 being near the city/county line kind of in a suburb and maybe an older building. NT$450,000 per ping for a new to newish building in Taipei, however they do go much higher as well for the top spots in the best buildings.