Residential building permits fell the most in seven years last year as the nation’s economy headed into a recession triggered by the global financial crisis.
The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) issued licenses for 18.4 million square meters of residential construction, 15 percent less than the previous year and the largest drop since 2001, data on the ministry Web site indicated.
The largest declines were in November and December, when permits fell more than 33 percent from a year earlier in both months.
The declining economy has prompted construction companies including Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設), Taiwan’s largest real-estate developer, and Huaku Development Co (華固建設), the sixth-largest, to delay projects or switch from residential to other use.
“We don’t have plans to launch any new projects this year,” Rachel Tsai, a spokeswoman for Taipei-based Farglory, said yesterday.
“We’ll also decide by the end of the quarter whether to postpone selling two Taipei City residential properties,” she said.
The “good news” is that materials prices are falling, she said.
Ministry data show that commercial property construction permits climbed 9 percent last year after falling more than 50 percent in each of the previous two years, as builders bet on lower material prices and increased demand from companies once the economy rebounds.
Taiwan’s 34-member TWSE Construction stock index has lost 5.3 percent this year, compared with the 0.7 percent slide in the wider benchmark TAIEX index.