What costs more than an apartment in Hong Kong’s city centre? A car parking space

High rise apartments in Hong Kong, where a parking space was sold for the price equivalent of a small apartment.
The Straits Times

A lot of people are proud of their cars, buffing them to a shine on a Sunday afternoon or having the inside professionally cleaned. But how many of us would be prepared to pay the price of a small apartment to provide our beloved vehicle with its own parking space?

It seems some wealthy Hongkongers are prepared to do just that.

A space measuring just over 8 feet by 16 feet was snapped up for a record HK$10,000 (US$1,274) a month on Monday, according to property agents.

The monthly rent for the 135 sq ft parking space at Sun Hung Kai Properties’ luxury Ultima project in Ho Man Tin is up by about a quarter from a year ago.

“This is the highest in Hong Kong ever,” said Eric Lam, senior sales director at Ricacorp Properties. “It is [up 25 per cent] from the rent of about HK$8,000 when buyers first moved in last year.”

The HK$10,000 monthly price tag is more expensive than renting a flat in the city centre … admittedly a very small one.

In Mong Kok’s Cheung Wang Building, a one-bedroom flat of 238 square feet went on the market for HK$8,600 a month on Monday, or HK$36 per square foot, according to Centaline Property Agency.

The seemingly mind-blowing cost of parking a car in many of Hong Kong’s developments is down to nothing more complicated than supply and demand.

There are 370 parking spaces at Ultima, which means only about 70 per cent of homeowners – those who bought large flats – were entitled to get their hands on one at the 527-unit development.

“Buyers of flats at Ultima are usually rich and may own more than one car,” said Man Lam, regional director of Ricacorp. “The shortage of parking spaces was aggravated as a result.”

The cost of buying a parking space outright at the development is also more than enough for a modest dwelling.

One was sold for HK$4.9 million on March 5. That would buy a flat measuring 296 square feet at Mong Kok’s Lime Stardom development, which translates to HK$16,554 per square foot.

It is not the first time parking spaces at one of Sun Hung Kai Properties’ developments have set records for their monthly rents.

A space at The Cullinan development at Kowloon Station set a new record for Kowloon of HK$8,500 in February.

Hong Kong holds the world record for the most expensive car parking space. In June last year, an executive paid HK$5.18 million (US$664,260) for space to leave his vehicle at the Upton apartment complex in western Hong Kong’s Sai Ying Pun.

Sales of both new and used parking spaces across Hong Kong amounted to HK$3.55 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 2.2 per cent from a year ago, despite the number of transactions falling 12.8 per cent to 2,113.

Lam said parking space prices are likely to rise further because of the shortage in the city.