Tenants are increasingly turning to renting out their apartments in the wake of the island’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, with some opting to move from their homes in the capital to make room for tourists, according to an industry survey released by the Taiwan Association of Real Estate Agents (TAE).
The survey, conducted by TAE and the Taiwan Institute of Economics, found that about 10 percent of tenants have chosen to move in to their apartments, down from 20 percent in September and from 50 percent in December, when the disaster struck.
The survey also found that rents are up for several months at a time, with apartment rents at a five-year high of 1,250 yuan ($3,619).
The TAE survey found that while rental growth is rising in the country, apartment rents are increasing in other parts of Taiwan, including the mainland, the biggest growth area.
The median rent in the Taiwan mainland is 1,000 yuan ($22), according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, while in the other major cities of Taiwan there are rents of up to 3,500 yuan ($6,000) per month, up from 2,000 in the previous survey.
The TAe survey showed that about 30 percent of renters in the mainland have chosen not to move, while the number of renters opting to stay put is much lower, with fewer than 10 percent opting to rent out their apartment.
About 10 percent chose to move to the mainland to find work.
The number of people who have moved to Taiwan from the mainland has increased by 50 percent to 9,500 from a previous survey conducted in August and September, TAE said.
This increase is in line with the overall growth in the number and the number who have chosen Taiwan as their destination, said Taipei City Manager Li Yuhua.
The government has responded to the disaster by easing regulations and relaxing restrictions on the use of mobile phones, which are often seen as a safety measure.
However, as more and more people choose to rent their apartments on the mainland or overseas, the rental market is also expected to worsen.
The government has imposed restrictions on smartphone usage in the past, and the rental sector is not immune to this.
TAE’s survey shows that the percentage of the population that uses smartphones in their home has risen by about 20 percent since the beginning of 2017, but the number that uses them in their apartments has remained the same.
For many people who rent in Taiwan, the prospect of paying more for their apartment is an incentive to stay.
About one-third of the tenants in TAE surveyed said that they are willing to pay more than 20,000 Taiwanese dollars ($19,095) per person to rent an apartment, compared to a year ago, when this number was just 3 percent.
Taiwanese rent prices have been trending downwards since the onset of the disaster, which saw prices rise in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami.
However, rents in the city of Taipei have been rising rapidly since the disaster.
As of August 31, the average rent in Taipei was 1,050 yuan ($2,639), compared to 1,400 yuan ($1,861) a year earlier.
The rental market in Taiyuan has seen a sharp decline since the tsunami, TAXI said.
Renting in Taiyo in particular has decreased since the end of the tsunami due to a number of factors including the economic downturn and the increased use of telephones.
But with the tsunami taking its toll on the rental industry, the TAE report also found a rise in demand for apartment rentals.
TAXi said that the number seeking to rent apartments in Taiyain has increased to 4,300 from 3,400 in the same period last year.
This number was the highest for any survey conducted since the start of the year.