Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Taipei land sale ban to remain in place: ministry

MAINTAINING CONTROL:The Ministry of Finance has submitted a report to the Cabinet suggesting that it uphold a ban on sales of state-owned land

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) yesterday said the ministry has decided to keep the current sales ban on state-owned plots of land of less than 500 ping (1,653m2) in Taipei.

For land in New Taipei City (新北市), the ministry intends to maintain the current policy of banning such sales in general, but proposed sales would be considered on a case by case basis, Chang added.

“Through various studies and surveys, the ministry has decided to keep the current restrictions for sales of state-owned land,” Chang told a media briefing.

SUFFICIENT SUPPLY

The ministry initiated the discussion on whether to lift of the sales ban on smaller plots of land last month, as it aims to balance the challenge of maintaining a sufficient supply of land to counter high real-estate prices and increasing revenue for the state’s coffers.

Chang asked the National Property Administration to review the pros and cons by collecting opinions from representatives of related industries and land economists, either in person or by questionnaire.

After reviewing different opinions, Chang said lifting the sales ban may not bring in a large amount of financial return, with expected income standing between NT$4 billion (US$136.32 million) and NT$8 billion a year.

In addition, previous auctions of state-owned land became a benchmark for average house prices in nearby areas, he added.

PROPERTY SPECULATION

The ministry banned the sale of state-owned land in March 2010 to avoid aggravating rampant property speculation in the Greater Taipei area and cause price gouging among construction firms.

The ministry has submitted the report to the Cabinet with the suggestion of maintaining the current sales ban on state-owned land, Chang said, adding that the Cabinet may finalize the proposal “very soon.”

In related news, the ministry is scheduled to start discussing the implementation of an energy tax in November and hopes to come up with a draft proposal by early next year, before lawmakers start to review the draft bill in the first half of next year at the earliest, Chang said.

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