monkey: I think you need to check your assumptions again.
For instance, I previously rented an apartment in Taoyuan. At the time, I was told that such an apartment would sell for 3 million NTD. My rent, including the security fee, was about 10,000NTD/month and it didn't increase in the 2.5 years I was there.
In such a scenario, if I were to put a deposit of 20% down, I'd still need to borrow 2.4 million NTD. I could probably get that at about 3%. So, for a twenty year loan, my payments would have been 13,310NTD/month. However, we need to look at all the associated costs, including maintenance costs (and they're a lot higher than being negligible -- in the 2.5 years I was there, the landlady had to replace one air-conditioning unit, and fix one other, replace a refrigerator, fix a toilet, and paint the walls, and there was also some sort of rotting plaster or something from the humidity that she was going to have to deal with, plus several cracks in walls). I have no idea what those costs would have been, but I don't think it's totally unreasonable to expect that all up, they could have made her total cost of ownership to be 20,000NTD/month once we factor in taxes and insurance also.
So, then you'd have to look at the long term trends for the potential growth of that property's value and compare it to the long term trends with the stock market. As far as I know, the stock market is the best performing asset class. So, theoretically, you could take that difference of 10,000NTD/month (sure, rent would go up, but so would the costs of maintaining the typically poorly built homes in this country) and after twenty years, cash part of your investments in and still have excess money.
In my present situation, living in rural Taidong, I'm not expecting housing to increase a lot. I could be wrong. We're currently considering buying the place we live in, but only because we think it could probably generate at least a minor amount of income to eliminate the rental advantage. If that weren't a good possibility, I wouldn't even be considering buying the place, and here's why. Based upon our current rent, the asking price (and mortgage repayments), additional costs, capital growth of 5% (and I'm not even sure it would grow that fast around here) and the returns I've been getting on my investments, the decision to buy the place instead of renting it (or something like it) would leave me almost $300,000 (USD -- based upon Taiwan's inflation rate for the past decade, about $200,000 in today's terms) poorer after 20 years. Or, to put it another way, after twenty years, I could buy a house like my current house (in its current condition) and still have all that extra money in my bank account. If I didn't want to do that, I'd have several multiples of that amount and could continue to pay rent.
People always hold up some sort of maxim that owning a home is better than paying rent. In a lot of cases, probably, but not always, and not even close to always. In Taiwan, it often doesn't make sense to buy unless you have other, non-financial concerns.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell