TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's housing prices reached 9.35 times the general income in the third quarter of last year, an all-time high, according to data released Monday by the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) under the Ministry of the Interior.
In Taipei, the price-to-income ratio was even higher in the Greater Taipei area at 15.47 in Taipei and 12.7 in New Taipei.
The mortgage burden for Taiwanese people also rose 1.35 percentage points in that period to 38.49 percent, meaning almost 40 percent of the salaries of home owners is being spent on mortgage payments.
The CPA said that in the third quarter, only five out of 20 counties and cities in Taiwan had "reasonable" housing: Yulin County, Pingtung County, Chiayi City, Chiayi County, and Keelung City. The CPA defines reasonable as a 30-ping (1 ping equals 3.3 square meters) property that sells for five to seven times average household income.
At 9.35, it would take the average Taiwanese worker over 9 years to buy a house, if they spent none of their salary on anything else, even food or drink, during that period.
Some netizens on the popular Taiwanese online forum (PTT) questioned the new figures, as housing prices dropped 20 percent during that period, however other users cynically countered that salaries have dipped by 20 percent during the same period as well.
To illustrate the extreme ranges in prices from one end of the island to another, one netizen said that in Pingtung a person could buy a 40-ping house for NT$4 million (US$131,000), while in Xinzhuang District of New Taipei NT$4.5 million would only buy a studio apartment, and in Taipei City it would only buy a bathroom.