As the year comes to a close, the Chinese-language United Daily News and Taiwan Realty Co have unveiled their respective “words of the year,” with both picks showing a sense of pessimism in a year marred by food safety scandals and rising home prices.
The United Daily News’ choice, “fake” (假), garnered nearly 18,000 votes from 62,000 respondents in a telephone survey conducted between Nov. 14 and Thursday.
The winning word was selected from a list of 57 candidates compiled by the paper and the Far Eastern Y.Z. Hsu Science & Technology Memorial Foundation.
“Fake” garnered the most votes and enjoyed the largest margin of victory yet seen in the six years that the poll has been held.
More than half of the candidate words this year had a negative connotation, United Daily News chief editor Sunny You (游美月指) said, reflecting the high level of public unease and distrust.
Echoing the negative sentiment was Taiwan Realty’s word of the year: “worry” (憂).
“Worry” was selected by 23 percent of the 1,367 respondents who took part in the poll, which is now in its fifth year and was conducted between Nov. 20 and Friday.
The online survey allowed participants to vote for up to three words from 20 options, each carrying a description explaining why that word represented the property market this year.
The description for the winning word chosen by 314 respondents said: “Worrying about not being able to buy a home with one’s current income,” Taiwan Realty said.
According to the real-estate agency, the average price of a house has risen by between 1 percent and 8 percent across the five municipalities in the time since the registration of actual transaction prices became mandatory on Aug. 1 last year.
The average price of all housing units rose between 2 percent and 12 percent during that period.
Amid little to no income growth, rising property prices have forced buyers to choose smaller homes, said Yeh Li-min (葉立敏), head of a Taiwan Realty research unit.