As of last week, the value of urban renewal projects in Taipei and New Taipei City totaled NT$85.3 billion (US$2.77 billion) for the year and the figure is bound to exceed NT$100 billion for the year as the projects become a main source of new construction, despite long construction times, the Chinese-language Housing Monthly (住展雜誌) said yesterday.
As of Wednesday last week, there were 39 urban renewal projects in the two cities, up from 31 in all of last year, the magazine said.
“The rest of the year might see an additional NT$25 billion worth of renewal projects, raising the overall volume for the year to NT$110 billion, with the Diamond Tower project on the site of a former public housing complex among those not yet included,” Housing Monthly research manager Ho Shih-chang (何世昌) said.
The volume will soar if Sanyuan Group (三圓建設) and Lung Ling Development Co (龍麟建設), which won bidding for the Diamond Tower contract, launch the project by the end of this year as planned, Ho said.
The Diamond Tower project is for two high-rise, mixed-use buildings on 1,545 ping (5,107m2) of land near the Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT Station in Taipei.
The Ministry of Finance, which owns 37.36 percent of the land, would own one building and set an example of how the government can guide private money to public construction without spending a dime, ministry officials have said.
Renewal projects have gained force since 2013, with their value more than doubling in 2016 and rising above NT$100 billion last year, Ho said.
The pace might continue to increase due to a lack of undeveloped land in Taipei, which is why the capital accounts for more than 30 percent of renewal projects nationwide, he said.
Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山) has seen the most investment, with projects there having a combined value of NT$16.2 billion, followed by Zhongcheng District (中正) with NT$11.1 billion, Beitou District (北投) with NT$8.9 billion and Wanhua District (萬華) with NT$8.4 billion, the magazine said.
New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和) is next with NT$7.6 billion, it said.
Beitou, Wanhua and Jhonghe are not considered central or popular and are therefore easier to integrate, Ho said, adding that it took 22 years to overcome resistance among residents over the Diamond Tower project.
Apartments in renewal projects tend to have higher asking prices, leading to a decline in transactions in recent years, Ho said.
The situation has shown improvement this year after builders shifted focus from big to small apartments and cut prices to facilitate transactions, he said.
A stable economy and low interest rates lend support to the property market, he said.
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