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Taiwan: New Policy of Government Repurchase of Tendered State-Owned Land

(May 24, 2010) Taiwan's National Property Administration (NPA), under the Ministry of Finance, has issued new rules on the repurchase of formerly state-owned, non-public use land in Taipei and Taipei County, applicable as of May 13, 2010, whereby the government may repurchase such land that was sold through public tender but remained idle for over two years. The aim of the measure is to prevent hoarding of land by developers seeking to manipulate real estate prices and to increase post-sale efficient utilization of the land. The repurchase price will be the original bidding price offered by the winning bidder. This state-owned land repurchase policy is reportedly a first for the Taiwan government. (MOF Unveils New Rules for State Land Sales, TAIWAN TODAY, May 18, 2010, available at; Gov't Moves to Repurchase Idle Land Lots in Taipei, CHINA POST, May 18, 2010, available at
; The NPA Will Repurchase, at the Original Price, Taipei City and Taipei County State-Owned, Non-Public Use Land Above a Certain Surface Area That Was Sold by the NPA If the Land Has Not Been Utilized Within a Time Limit, in Order to Increase Post-Sale Utilization Efficiency [in Chinese], May 17, 2010, Ministry of Finance National Property Administration [MOFNPA] website, available at

Plots open for sale are those above 100 ping (331 square meters) located in areas slated for urban development, as well as plots of more than 150 ping that are not part of development plans. At present, plots over 500 ping are not open to sale through public tender, with certain exceptions, and there is a six-month freeze on public tender sales of Taipei City plots of between 100-500 ping, in conformity with a Legislative Yuan committee resolution of March 3, 2010. Thus, “the new rules will first be applied to plots of land between 100-500 ping in Taipei County that are part of urban development plans, as well as land plots between 150-500 ping in the county that are not included in city plans.” (TAIWAN TODAY, supra; MOFNPA, supra.)

Those who purchase the plots, in open bidding, “will be required to obtain construction licenses and begin development on the lands within two years of purchase or face forced sale of the land back to the government at the original selling price.” (TAIWAN TODAY, supra.) The deadline to commence development may be extended to three years in cases where an urban planning review process is required for the plot. (Id.)

The NPA reportedly plans to have a “repurchase article” inserted in future guidelines on open bidding for state-owned plots of land and to stipulate that mortgage loans for the lots purchased may not exceed the properties' original transaction prices. (CHINA POST, supra.)

Private property developers have voiced objections to the new rules. One developer contended that the policy has “blind spots” that will make the rules impractical to implement. For example, he stated, it will be “impossible” to start development immediately on acquired plots, because all the plots remaining open for public tender under the policy must either undergo urban renewal or first be combined into larger plots before being viable for development. (TAIWAN TODAY, supra.)