Was it the weather? Better jobs? Better childcare? Nearby mountains and nature? A combo of all those?

How did the island’s central city overtake Kaohsiung as Taiwan’s Number 2?

A Taiwan News / Central News Agency report offers this opinion:

“… one of the key factors is [Taichung’s] housing policy.

The Taichung City Government recently set up a dedicated residential development section, with the goal of constructing 5,000 units of social housing in 4 years, and 10,000 in 8 years.

A Taichung City Government official said that as early as 2013, it started to offer a subsidy of 0.5% on mortgage interest to young residential property purchasers in Taichung City. Now, a new scheme expands this considerably … ‘integrated housing subsidy programs’ provides three types of residential subsidies: rental subsidies, interest-free mortgages for private housing and interest-free mortgages for social housing.

By contrast, the Kaohsiung City Government only started to offer housing subsidies this year.”

So, was it housing subsidies? Is this a sign of strength for Taichung, or just a temporary trend? In any case, Kaohsiung certainly has its work cut out for it — starting with getting wages up … as young people are flocking to the north (with many enduring less than happy existences there) just to make a halfway decent paycheck.

More from the Taipei Times:

” DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), whose constituency is in Kaohsiung, congratulated Taichung, but said his city’s residents would undoubtedly have experienced mixed emotions upon hearing the news.

Chao added that Taichung had seen a more balanced development, whereas in recent years, the population in Kaohsiung’s Fengshan District (鳳山) increased by 40,000, whereas the former city center’s population, as well as that in Gangshan (岡山) and Cishan (旗山) districts had declined.

“Industry and urban development should be given equal weight in the debate about Kaohsiung’s future, he said.”