Taipei’s Housing Market Squeezes New Grads

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New graduates looking for work in Taipei continue to face difficulties if they want live on their own. The average rental prices in Taiwan’s capital are unaffordable on a starting salary.

Rent per ping (35.5 sq. ft./3.3 sq.m.) in the city is NT$1,688 (US$53.78), with some districts like Xinyi reaching NT$1,836 per ping. Based on the average starting salary for new grads, a 10 ping apartment would cost about 70% of their monthly income. Current starting wage for 20-24 year olds in Taipei is NT$27,635 (US$880.50) per month, according to a recent employer survey. Minimum wage in Taiwan was raised to NT$23,100 per month this year. Statistics indicate that rent in Taipei has increased for 53 consecutive months.

Meanwhile, apartments are getting smaller, with landlords partitioning apartments to increase the number of tenants. The number of 3-ping efficiency apartments in Taipei has increased by 35% since 2017, though only reaching a total of 147 rooms.

According to Chen Chieh-ming (陳傑鳴), director of housing research center Ubee (屋比趨勢研究中心), such small apartments can have detrimental effects on tenants due to the lack of space, natural light, and ventilation. Chen noted that rent in Taipei has increased about 8% over the past three years.

Apple Daily added that its research found a 3.5-ping apartment on Wuxing Street in Xinyi District for NT$10,000 per month that also required tenants to assist the landlord with cleaning and maintenance for a 15% rent reduction. According to the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce, an average independent apartment in Taipei costs between NT$18,000 and NT$25,000 per month, with luxury accommodations reaching upwards of NT$65,000. Even a 4-8 ping apartment would cost NT$8,000-15,000, however. And while such small accommodations might be acceptable for some office workers who spend long days at work, the partitioning of buildings coupled with an increased number of residents could post safety hazards.

The media outlet mentioned a 24-year-old photography assistant from Tainan who earns NT$31,000 per month in Taipei. The recent graduate rents a 7-ping room in a three-bedroom apartment for NT$9,000 per month, which includes a bed, TV, and washing machine.

The combination of rising rents and low salaries will likely force more young people to live with their parents or move to less expensive areas of New Taipei.

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