In Taiwan, the house is worth a lot more than anything. In the past seven years, there has been only a 20% increase in salary which is not proportional to the house price growth. A regular office worker may need to deposit all his earning without spending anything for 9 years to afford a median home in the center.
Nowadays, more and more people prefer to rent homes, especially in the top Asian cities. According to the statistics of the Taiwan government, the size of rental housing markets increased 21% over the past seven years. In Taiwan, there are nearly 3 million people who have rental demand, accounting for about an eighth of the total population.
However, tenants of different ages are now facing the dilemma: young petty bourgeoisie lose their dreams of buying homes and struggle with affordability in the rental market. The hardworking two-paycheck families who cannot afford their housing deal with huge financial stress and anxiety under living expenses and rental. The older adults living alone have difficulty seeking a suitable flat and are pushed into the corner by discrimination. In Taiwan, the problem of rental housing seems an unresolved issue trapping different generations.
What makes this project innovative?
In Taiwan, one-eighth of the whole population lives off rental income. However, the government is not able to control the numbers or the rent increase. The data available in government system only comes from the real estate agencies. Now our team analyzed more than ten thousand of rental ads on the largest rental website - 104rent - in Taiwan to reveal the inside story of the rental housing market and the increase of rental rate in different type of housing over the past decade. In the first part of this editorial coverage, “The Tenant’s Voice”, these three tenants, landlords and rental brokers were all adapted from true stories, by reappearing their tones and conversations. For better user experience, the team designed two versions of questions and answers for mobile devices and desktop usages. Through their dialogue, readers could learn more about the challenges that the tenants of each generation were facing. After the news game, we brought into the different issues of renting housing by three reports to further analyze the problem in the rental market.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The journalist visited the narrow homes of several older adults. Those seniors who supposed to enjoy the rest of their lives are actually live as the life of the ants in the real world. The young people and two-paycheck families have given up their dreams of buying houses and bowed to reality. This report described the dilemma of their rental life and their imaginations for the future. The rental market in Taiwan has been mostly controlled by small-scale individual landlords and the tax evasion has been taken for granted by the landlords for long time, which lead to an unequal landlord-tenant relationship. We also made in-depth interview with related professionals such as senior market operators to analyze the causes, cruxes and turning points of this huge underground market.
Source and methodology
The leasing industry has never been a “formal” market in Taiwan. Behind the rental market, it is an “underground economy” that up to 90% of landlords has never paid taxes on their rental income. No one actually knows the size of this underground economy in Taiwan. The team used the Python to collect the ad records of the past decade from Taiwan’s largest rental website and got the data in the six major cities. According to the categories of “house usage”, “house type”, “house size” and “rental range” we dug out more than 280,000 cases to reveal the inside story of Taiwan rental market and the rental increase of different housing type over the past decade.
Tzewu Chang, Chen Hua Chen, Wen Jung Chang, Chih Wei Yu, Jameson Wu,Tseng yuan hsin, Yu Chen Huang, Taylor Fang, Tzu Yang Kuo, Chung Jen Yu, Shih Yun Chang, Hui Chun Yang