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buying farmland

Can a foreigner buy...? Can a foreigner rent...? What about deposits? Bad neighbors? Unreasonable landlords? Miscellaneous problems?
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Postby Bu Lai En » 01 Jul 2004, 13:31

You need 2.5 fen to be able to legally build a house on it. If I did the math right, 2.5 fen is 743 ping.

Is a 'fen' one tenth of a 台甲 (tai jia) then? My book says 1台甲 = 2934 ping, to if a 'fen' is a tenth of that then, 1 fen = 293 ping and 2.5 fen = 732 ping. Does anyone know if this is right, and if 'fen' and 'jia' are the common units in Taiwan? Also, how does this translate into acres and hectares? Just curious.

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Postby robert_storey » 01 Jul 2004, 14:59

Bu Lai En wrote:
You need 2.5 fen to be able to legally build a house on it. If I did the math right, 2.5 fen is 743 ping.

Is a 'fen' one tenth of a ?? (tai jia) then? My book says 1?? = 2934 ping, to if a 'fen' is a tenth of that then, 1 fen = 293 ping and 2.5 fen = 732 ping. Does anyone know if this is right, and if 'fen' and 'jia' are the common units in Taiwan???lso, how does this translate into acres and hectares? Just curious.


Dear Brian,

You're correct, sorry, it was a type. One fen is 293 ping just as you said. Here's some measurements that might prove useful:

1 ping = 3.31 square meters
0.3021 pings = 1 square meter
1 ping = 35.63 square feet
1 square foot = 0.028 ping
1 fen=293 ping
1 fen=970 square meters
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Postby Hobart » 28 Sep 2004, 16:10

Neo wrote:I don't know anything about land prices in Taiwan, but my initial reaction is sticker shock. At those prices, you could buy land in a city in the US. With so much rural country land on the east coast, I am surprised it would be that expensive, even with the ocean view and road access. Is it readily buildable land, with electric and sewer and water already ready? Or maybe land is simply that much more scarce in TW than in the US.
I must have been here too long as I thought that price was a steal for 500 pings.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby pizzaon » 07 Feb 2011, 21:09

Hi Everyone,

Anybody know the rough figure to build a farm-house/shack? I am getting different figures [10,000NT/ping to 50,000NT/ping].

typical re bared concrete foundation, i beam corners, concrete over the brick walls, steel corrugated metal roofing, septic tank...

any info is appreciated. with pictures, even better!

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Postby Rotalsnart » 08 Feb 2011, 01:42

tainanfarm wrote:my wife phoned an agent and he said no problem buying the land in my name....I just have to pay cash and can't secure a loan, unlike my wife. The laws were relaxed and non-farmers are now allowed to buy land. But yes, there are restrictions in the land, however in the country side most people don't seem as worried as "city" people about the restrictions.

Tainanfarm, even though non-farmer citizens are now allowed to buy farmland, it is my tenuous understanding that buying farmland is still off-limits to foreigners except on a special-case approval basis. (And I'm speaking of the land purchase itself, not the mortgage approval process.) Was the agent who your wife spoke to implying that this special-case approval requirement for foreigners is simply a formality? Or perhaps the agent is unaware of the legal restriction regarding foreigners?

I hope that the agent is right, but I am skeptical. Please let us know how your progress goes or if you learn any more information.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby finley » 09 Feb 2011, 14:56

Tainanfarm, I'm also looking into something similar. I'm just about to sign the contract for renting 5 acres in Miaoli, which actually works out a lot cheaper (in terms of cost-of-capital) than buying, unless of course you're aiming to invest for your family. As someone else noted, farmland prices near cities are just daft. The reason is, people aren't selling farms, they're selling residential land. They know damn well it's being snapped up by building companies who will either (1) wait for rezoning (2) pressure the local bigwig for rezoning (3) flout the law and build anyway, usually taking advantage of the 1/10th-area "farm building" laws to put up a 5-storey house.

If you're interested in the East coast, however, that looks like a whole different story. I've seen land there going for NT$100 per ping (US$10K/ha), or even less, and I aim to get a slice as soon as my wife can learn to stop spending all my money :s At that price, it's generally 'forest' land, but if you're familiar with the latest forest agriculture or permaculture techniques, that's not an issue even for commercial farming. In my experience western-style agriculture simply doesn't work in tropical locations (the land gets stripped and depleted even quicker than it does in temperate climates) and I have no idea why Taiwanese farmers persist with it.

I also have been told by several estate agents that it's fine for foreigners to buy land as long as your home country allows Taiwanese people to buy land. I've heard there is an upper size limit and limitations for commercial-sized purchases (several hectares) but I don't know the details. I doubt anybody will lend you money though. You have to be pureblood Han to get cash from Taiwanese banks.

As for cheap sheds/shacks ... I'm planning to put a small rammed-earth building on my rental plot. It only needs a poured-concrete foundation (which, in my case, is already there), some formwork, and lots of hard work. Rammed earth is earthquake-safe and attractive when done properly, and it's easily demolished if/when the contract runs out.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby Taffy » 09 Feb 2011, 15:04

There are certain categories of land which are still off-limits to foreigners: forest and mountain slope land are two such categories.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby Rotalsnart » 10 Feb 2011, 00:05

To elaborate on Taffy's post a bit, the categories of land that are specifically prohibited for purchase by foreigners are listed in Article 17 of the Land Act. The categories of land that are specifically permitted for purchase by foreigners are listed in Article 19 of the Land Act. (A translation can be found online at )

In a 2001 amendment to the Land Act, farmland was removed from the "prohibited" list in Article 17. But instead of unconditionally adding it to the "permitted" list in Article 19, the amendment seems to lump it in a special category (in numbered subparagraph 8 of Article 19) of land for which special approval by the central regulatory authority is required on a case-by-case basis for a foreigner who wishes to purchase such land.

The online translation of subparagraph 8 of Article 19 (not my translation by the way) reads: "(8) Investments helping important construction in the country, the economy as a whole, and agriculture and pasture, which have been approved by the central authority in charge of the business.
A regulation governing the procedure for application [under subparagraph 8], documents to be attached, the method of examination and other regulatory matters shall be enacted by the Executive Yuan."

So a foreigner who wishes to purchase farmland is still going to have to file a special application that wouldn't be required for purchase of other kinds of land. Or at least it appears that way from the wording of the law.

So far, I've never heard of a foreigner actually purchasing farmland in their own name in Taiwan (plenty have done it in the names of spouses), and I don't know whether anyone has ever tried. However, there does seem to be a legislative trend toward deregulating the purchase of farmland by foreigners, so that is a positive sign. If the OP or anyone else actually tries to go ahead with this process, please let us know how it goes. I personally am also very interested in the possibility of purchasing some farmland in Taiwan some day down the road.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby Pingdong » 15 Jul 2012, 14:34

Has anyone done this recently?

We are buying soon, brought cash into Taiwan from back home and looking around now.

One thing I am EXTREMELY nervous about is the general incompetence of most people we deal with. Even gov officials have many different versions of the same story. Does anyone happen to know a link to the (Chinese) Land Act? My wife, Taiwanese, is really not so great about putting effort into research, and i cant read/write chinese well enough to find the act on the website.

Another thing we have seen is a lot of the mountain property (which is where we are looking) is aboriginal owned. its only for them, the chinese-taiwanese cant technically buy it. there are legal workarounds but it all gets complicated and to be honest, without being fluent in the language there is a real sense of "getting fucked" about the whole situation. however there are some simply impossibly beautiful places in the mountains and some aboriginal people will sell it. I wouldnt feel too terrible about it as they tend not to care for the land any better than the rest of the population.

This may sound dumb, but i trust lawyers here as much as I do any other profession here (thats very little). do they check for leans, or any kind of funny business on the land itself? is there any kind of government agency that you can hire to clear the property of any possible legal issues, and get it on paper***? that is one thing i enjoyed about the court sale is that you would think (this may be wrong) that because it goes through the court, it would be checked and cleared before changing hands. Of course that route you cannot actually get any information form them at all until you pay it seems.

Would love any updates from anyone. I told my wife I want to stop being so lazy and be paying for the land by the end of August.
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Re: buying farmland

Postby Omniloquacious » 15 Jul 2012, 16:18

Pingdong wrote: Does anyone happen to know a link to the (Chinese) Land Act?

Here she is.

And here's the English translation.
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