Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Government mulls resumption of land auctions in Taipei

URBAN RENEWAL A six-month freeze on sales of state-owned assets to rein in soaring property prices is up for review on Friday, the finance ministry said

By Ted Yang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Finance yesterday said it would discuss on Friday the possibility of resuming sales of state-owned properties in Taipei in line with the city government’s efforts to develop the city.

A freeze on sales of government property holdings has been in place since March amid growing concern that sales could fuel already soaring property prices.

On March 2, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) put a halt to the National Property Administration’s plan to invite bids for state-owned land at a previously scheduled auction aimed at preventing worsening price gouging among construction companies.

The legislature’s Finance Committee then passed a resolution that public land auctions in Taipei City and Taipei County be halted for six months and that the ministry conduct a review on the reinstatement of the contentious bidding in half a year.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) told reporters yesterday that the government was reconsidering selling state-owned assets to support urban renewal projects and generate better value for the properties.

In May, the ministry also established a “buy back” mechanism to prevent land hoarding, allowing it to repurchase public land of 100 ping (330m²) or more in the Taipei area that hasn’t been developed within two or three years of its initial auction.

Government data showed that nearly 30 percent of public land auctioned by the National Property Administration from 2004 to last year had not been developed, and as much as 50 percent of it had changed hands.

As of the end of last year, 75 of the 199 public land parcels that had been left undeveloped accounted for 33.67 percent of the combined 19.1 hectares of auctioned public land.

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