Subsidized housing

I read posts about buying an apartment in Taiwan. The bottom line (and anyone in the know can correct me) seems to be that if you’re looking to stay 10+ years, it makes alot of sense to buy your apartment. Any shorter timeframe, however, doesn’t make sense.

But my wife wants to apply for subsidized housing, and if we can get it, this arrangement kind of throws the whole analysis of those posts out the window. Before I think about this any further, I would like to know if there are restrictions in being accepted for subsidized housing (such as salary). My Taiwanese wife doesn’t think so but I find that hard to believe. She and I have been living outside of Taiwan for about a decade so we are both kind of clueless.

I wouldn’t be so sure.

My basic calculations suggest that of you bought a house and paid a 20% deposit on a 20 year mortgage, the repayments of the principle would be roughly equal to what you’d expect to pay in rent per month. On top of that you’d be paying almost as much again in interest payments (depending on whetther or not you got a first-time homeowners rate and other things).


After I move back to Taiwan and live there for a year, I’ll probably sit down and do the math. In the end, I might end up doing it anyway even if it doesn’t make economic sense. By the way, there are some good posts where people do the math different ways in “Real Estate & Housing” if you’re interested.

If my understanding is correct, when purchasing subsidized housing, one does not own any of the land. You are, in essence, buying air. Well, maybe the walls that encapsulate the air. If this doesn’t bother you, I’d say go for it, but I never did much research into the owner’s rights for when or if the government decides to take back the land. Probably not likely over the next 10 to 12 years if the place is reasonably new.

When I was looking for a house/apartment, it seemed that subsidized housing was roughly half the price ping-for-ping compared to apartments where you own the land, maybe even a bit less. You can save a lot, but I’d avoid it if you are one of those people that feel better to own a piece of land.

Me, I much prefer to pay the extra cost. If my building tumbles down due to war or earthquakes, it’s comforting to know that I will be divvied out a half-ping sliver to call my very own.