Sat, Jun 10, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Bank of Taiwan to back renewal

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

State-owned Bank of Taiwan (臺灣銀行), the main subsidiary of Taiwan Financial Holding Co (台灣金控), yesterday said that its board has approved plans to set aside NT$100 billion (US$3.32 billion) to support urban renewal projects.

The move came as the nation’s largest bank by loan book lends force to the government’s measured effort to prop up the construction industry without reviving a property fever.

“We have created a special mortgage operation aimed at helping facilitate renewal of the nation’s old buildings,” Bank of Taiwan chairman Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) told a media briefing.

Owners of buildings at least 30 years old or declared unsafe by authorities may apply for loans with preferential interest rates if they agree to urban renewal projects, Lyu said.

The mortgage operation is a supporting measure to new legislation that cuts both land and housing taxes for old and unsafe homes if their owners agree to tear them down and rebuild, he said.

About 140,000 buildings nationwide are more than 30 years old, with 50,000 of them in dire need of repairs and reinforcement, Ministry of the Interior data showed.

The ministry provides urban renewal projects with preferential floor space terms to help ease resistance from occupants.

Bank of Taiwan set the interest rates for renewal loans at 2.3 percent for the maximum duration of five years, Lyu said, adding that it would give further discounts if home owners are still paying mortgages.

Potential applicants may borrow up to 100 percent of their home’s values in special loans, as a lack of liquidity often slows the pace of renewal, Lyu said.

Small single houses also qualify for the lending program, although average urban renewal projects require minimum construction areas of 1,000m2, he said.

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