A new year is starting and with the housing market as it is, there needs to be a general recognition that the market and property prices are currently at unreasonable and, ultimately, unsustainable levels. If the government continues to hold back on reform, it is going to be very difficult in the coming years for young people to get on the first rung of the property ladder, or indeed be able to afford to rent a decent apartment of their own at all. The middle class will also be stuck in the property that they already own, unable to move further up the ladder, a state of affairs that will be detrimental to all.
This is a critical moment and prospective buyers who have the intention and wherewithal should be careful before they enter the market. At the same time, comprehensive information about market supply and demand should be made available, and not distorted, and the government should be required to take action to strengthen the market. If all of these things are done, there is no reason the housing market should not return to more reasonable levels over time.
Chang Chin-oh is a professor in the Department of Land Economics at National Chengchi University.
Translated by Paul Cooper