Are you buying a house here or there?

Ok, this topic was gathering some momentum before the now infamous Oriented System crash of a couple of days back, so we’ll start again.

I’ve been thinking a bit recently about buying a house, but was not sure on whether to buy it here, or back home. I’d like to know how many people have bought places here, or bought places back home whilst still working here.

It’s everybodies dream to own their own house, so I’d love to hear on what people have done, or plan to do with regard to where you will or have bought, and a little bit of how you’ve gone about it with regards to living here.

Cheers Amos

ps to the guys who posted on this topic before it crashed, Bri and Theo’s mother? were a couple I can remember, please re post as there were some really good ideas and thoughts on the topic.

Well, my inlaws built a house and bought an apartment (the last was an investment) a couple of years ago. Probably lost at least half the money invested by now…

While housing prices here are low, no law on the books decree that they can’t go lower. Moreover, you may want to keep in mind that 17% of all residential units are vacant, meaning that there is tonnes of supply waiting on the sides.

In other words, if one of your objectives is to store some value, you’ll end up with eggs on your face. IF you buy a house because you want to live in it for 15+ years, then it may be a good idea. Just make sure tht the rebar isn’t radioactive(I kid you not). Moreover, make sure that the house is built legally and that the quality is ok. If you buy a duplex, it is likely to be illegal.

I invested some of my hard earned cash in my parents new house back home which I will inherit one day (I guess), no intention to buy anything here or around Asia as I do not plan to stay for that long, at least there is no guarantee in my job that it will last forever and I do not think I want to settle down here (for sure not in Taipei).

Personally I would not invest locally unless you know you are going to settle down here, perhaps because you really love it or due to familiy committments or whatever, but as an expat this is IMHO not a good option.

On the other hand property (not necessarily here) is usually a good and safe investment as you can rent it out for example, but then you need somebody to look after it and may become taxable in that country (income from rent).

My mother-in-law is forever nagging me and my brother-in-law (2nd brother, so non-inheriting) to buy property here, but he just laughs at her and says that if he buys property, he wants it to go up in value, not down.

I kind of agree. I’d like to stop paying rent, but I know three or four people here who paid around NT$8 million for houses or apartments, here and in Taichung, and ALL have seen their properties lose a minimum of NT$3 million in just 5 years or so, not counting the normal wear and tear depreciation.

For NT$8 mil, you could buy a pretty fantastic renovated farmhouse in Spain or Portugal to retire to, or an upmarket flat in Edinburgh, I guess.

In value for money terms, I know what I’d choose.

Here is a website to a really nice looking housing complexes. Beautiful architecture and seems like a nice suburban location. Who says Taiwan doesn’t have some nice architecture.

Hey Thyrdrail, you ever been to The Village or are you basing your judgement on the (admittedly attractive) website? (which has the wrong link, btw – check your other post on the subject for the correct one.)

I have been there, and my visit has coloured my view of the website somewhat. As I said in my post on that other thread, the photos are artfully taken but very misleading. The place is HORRIBLE! Like the worst of 80s British council housing. Squashed together houses like some kind of Legoland nightmare with every window in the house looking straight into someone else’s place.

The architect may indeed be up and coming as you say, (although if that’s the current standard … shudder!) but the fact remains he’s working to a brief, and that brief, as sure as god made little green apples, doesn’t say “design a space for living that will be appreciated for its asthetic appeal while providing elegant open space, de dah de dah…”

More likely it says “We have xxx hectares. How many houses can you cram on to that space?”

Oh, and another thing. It doesn’t matter what the architect does anyway – and if you’d ever been to The Village, or any of the other numerous housing complexes around the edge of Taipei you’d know this. The very first thing a new owner here does, virtually without fail, it to build illegal extensions wherever he can.

Of course, this is not in the original architect’s brief, so the construction company usually does it according to tried and tested local methods, using the materials it deliberately over-ordered just for this purpose and augmenting them with materials such as aluminum siding, plastic awnings and far, far worse. I’d go up there one weekend and take some pics of what the place looks like now – it would open your eyes, I’m sure!

One of my friends lives in a three-story semi-detached in one of these places (not The Village, but similar) and has been trying for months to sue his neighbour who has – get this – managed to wrangle an old shipping container up onto his upstairs balcony, where he’s apparently using it as a bedroom extension.

I’m not trying to flame you, but just trying to point out the real situation, and it shows no sign of changing, whichever architect you employ.

Sandman, Wolf and Cranky and anyone else who’s been here since the martial law days , have you guys bought place back home? or plan too?

Bwahahahahaha! I can barely afford a new pair of shoes, let alone a house!

Seriously, I haven’t bought anywhere just yet. I was on the point a few years back of buying a nice interior-designed flat in Edinburgh or Glasgow, but the plan petered out because I didn’t want to trust a letting agency with it, and didn’t want to lumber one of my sisters with being my proxy for all the little details that inevitably crop up.

I’m now leaning more toward a place in (or maybe that should be on) the Mediterranean, but right now its no more than a pipe dream that comes up every time I have a few drinks of pastis.

I’m not sure what you mean when you say that was the wrong link, sandman. I clicked on it and it opened just fine. And I only had one post on this subject. What other post are you referring to? I must’ve missed something.

Well, I said the ARCHITECTURE looked quite nice. Mainly the aesthetics. It’s alot nicer compared to alot of other housing complexes. I didn’t say anything about the planned layouts. It does look cramped, but what the hell do you expect? It’s Taiwan; it ain’t the US or China where land is ample and cheap. Actually, it looks like there’s alot of land in the surrounding area. At least there’s no other complexes jutting up against it which would make it even more cramped.

If you want bigger houses or apartments with more space and land, then you should shell out a few million and buy yourself a place in the more affluent neighborhoods.

Sorry Thyrdrail, you’re right. I don’t know why the link didn’t work for me last night. But isn’t this the same Village that’s on this link that you posted on the No matter how high you build a building in Taiwan thread?

quote[quote]If you want bigger houses or apartments with more space and land, then you should shell out a few million and buy yourself a place in the more affluent neighborhoods.[/quote]

That’s another misapprehension on your part – these ARE the more affluent neighborhoods, at least in the Taipei area!
If the average price for units in these types of places is around NT$8 million (and trust me, they are FAR uglier and cheaper-looking), somewhere like the Village would be closer to the region of NT$12 million. That’s for the cheapest ones – the ones you DONT’T see on the website. The ones pictured are probably more like NT$20 million and up.

If you plan on staying in Taiwan for a long period of time I would suggest buying a flat. It isn’t such a bad investment considering that most people rent a place on average for 30k a month. Over a span of ten years thats 3.6 million gone and you own nothing.
On the other hand, if you are a first time home buyer the government will sweet’n the deal by offering a two million dolar loan at 2% - that’s two million basically for free. Add that to the rent over 15 years and the house is yours.
Also there’s the quality of life. You can renovate the place to your tastes - hardwood floors, an open concept kitchen, sound proof windows etc. No more nasty lighting, tacky built in furniture or landlords to appease.
Why rent?

I’m buying a place here, though I should state that in general I’m not convinced that buying in Taiwan is much better than renting. Buying a place in the Taipei area can be expensive . The reason I’m buying is complicated; basically, I’ve taken over the house payments on a place my father-in-law was able to get a good deal on as part of his retirement package from the government.

But maybe I’ll be moving to Xindian later this year. Dunno what I’ll do with the Banqiao place then.

As for getting a place back in the States, I’m not interested for now. I hail from Oklahoma, which isn’t such a bad place, really, but not one I want to settle down in. So where would I buy something? New York City? San Francisco? Too expensive. There are cheaper places, but there’s the hassle of trying to get things taken care of from thousands of miles away. And then there’s the fact that I don’t have enough money to make house payments in two different countries.

But I do have vague, probably never-to-be-fulfilled plans to buy a house on some land in the mountains on the east coast of Taiwan. Maybe with a view of the sea. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.

The village appears to me to be nothing more than a cheap attempt to copy the unpopular Habitat.

Sandman, I don’t think you give me enough credit for knowing about Taiwan. I do have relatives there you know. When I said splurge a couple million to buy a nice house with land, I meant a few $US millions. The Village is not what I had in mind. My cousin moved back to Taipei when he married a Taiwanese girl. Her parents are multimillionaires and live in an ESTATE section in a large house with land and worth several $US millions. It’s somewhere in the mountains. It’s not in a squishy housing complex.

And those 2 links are not the same. One is to Artech Inc., the other is to The Village complex site itself. I think many of Kris Yao’s firms are quite nice. Have you hear of World Architecture magazine, a London-based magazine? He was featured in there. So tho you do you have your own aesthetic opinions, some people higher up on the professional architectural chain obviously disagrees with you. November 1999 issue.

And Chung, in your opinion The Village may be a cheap copycat of The Habitat (or whatever you’re talking about), well so friggin what?? Jesus, this is what I mean by overly critical.

Whatever, kiddo, I didn’t realize you were addressing the tiny elite of US dollar multimillionaires on Oriented!

If I had that kind of money, I’d be buying my own friggin’ ISLAND, mate, not some poured concrete monstrosity here.

I’m sorry, but I’m just an old curmudgeon who thinks 90% of modern architecture just stinks. And I know I’m not alone.

Do you mean 90% of modern architecture in general? Or 90% of modern architecture in Taiwan?

I like modern architecture. I don’t think it works well when some Taiwanese architects, mainly C.Y.Lee, tries to combine Eastern and Western styles together. The skyscrapers he designed in Taiwan (Shin Kon Mitsukoshi, T&T Tower, and that 50 story thing - forgot the name) are awful!!! I don’t know why or how he still gets all the big skyscraper projects. Guess cuz he’s a national. Anyway, I hope Taipei Financial looks as good as the computer rendering in their website. God I hope so for Taiwan’s sake!! It will be the world’s tallest and will get lots of media attention.

Harrrumph! I mean 90% percent in general, but as you point out, what do I know? I only have the ignorant person’s get-out clause – “I know what I like and that `aint it.”

I don’t even know about the status of the Financial Building – I see it from my office window and it hasn’t progressed upward since the quake of March, when two of its construction cranes fell from the very top to the street below, killing several people. However, it already dominates the city skyline. Very imposing indeed, and I suppose it has its elegant points, but still pretty ugly IMHO – none of the soaring grace of the Petronas Towers, for example.

But back to Amos’ question about buying here, and I still feel that because of the ugliness of the buildings here (MOST of which, after all, are not designed by award-winning, internationally respected architects), the always shoddy and often downright dangerous workmanship, and the knowledge that buying houses or apartments here is like buying a car elsewhere – instant depreciation rather than an investment – I’d be much more inclined to buy my property somewhere other than here.

Architects are just like lawyers and teenagers - “Don’t criticise us, you don’t understand.”

What wonderful architects we have in London. Like the one who designed the wobbly Millenium Bridge that no-one could walk over. Or the one who decided not to use Portland stone in the British Museum but a cheaper differently coloured French variety. At the top of his profession.

Architecture is one of the few professions a layman can understand totally at a glance. Is it remarkably ugly, does it sacrifice utility for the latest aescetic fashion, and is it completely out of keeping with its surroundings taking away from every other nearby structure ? Then it was designed by a world class architect.

Sandman, the point I was trying to make earlier is that even if the buildings are ugly, designed by betel nut chewing, whisby drinking day labourers you still have to live somewhere. Why not own it instead of pisssing your money away on rent. As Holger mentioned earlier in this thread the vacancy rate is about 17%, which is exactly why the government is offering 2% interest on loans to first time buyers. With a couple of million initial down-payment, you can own your flat instead of rent it.

I’d be out house hunting tomorrow if I didn’t already own a place!

Well the building isn’t finished yet. All buildings are kind of ugly when they’re still only a metal and concrete skeleton, don’t ya think?? I read in papers that construction work as resumed on the lower floors, but since they haven’t replaced the cranes they aren’t currently adding floors but will soon do so.

I have to admit that I hated it when I saw some of the computer renderings. The rendering in their website looks much better tho, but I doubt it will look exactly like it. I saw construction pics of it and I really don’t like the small, green windows. I really wish they would’ve chosen another type of glass and color for the facade.

At least this building design is totally original compared to some of the bland modern and generic towers of Hong Kong and other cities. It isn’t just a rectangle covered in glass. The shape alone is distinctive, as with Petronas. Since I was raised in the States, I am more used to modern western architecture that emphasize straight, simple lines. But I am trying to be more open-minded and appreciate the fact that this architect is incorporating Asian aesthetics into building a modern skyscraper. The tower is supposed to resemble a pagoda. Opinions will vary. Some will hate it. I’m sure more Asians than westerners will appreciate it.