Hong Kong investors pay up to $466,000 for carpark lots as property prices fall

Residential project The Hermitage, where 147 parking lots were recently sold for up to HK$2.7 million (S$466,000).
Residential project The Hermitage, where 147 parking lots were recently sold for up to HK$2.7 million (S$466,000). PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Falling property prices in Hong Kong after a peak in September last year have led investors to turn their focus on another viable asset - carpark lots.

Buyers who do not even own cars are snapping up the spaces as investments, driving up prices in recent months, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday (April 19).

Earlier this week, a lot at new condominium Grand Austin, located near the Austin MTR station, went for a record HK$2.46 million (S$425,000).

Another resident project in West Kowloon, The Hermitage, fetched even higher prices when a consortium of developers launched 147 parking lots last Saturday.

The lots, which ranged between HK$2.3 million and HK$2.7 million, sold out on the first day of sale.

One expert told the paper that parking lots have become attractive as investors do not require large lump sums like office spaces.

Another said demand for lots had surged because of limited supply.

There are about 683,000 parking spaces in Hong Kong, according to its Transport Department. Around 198,000 are set for public use, while the rest are for private use in commercial, residential and industrial premises.

The figure is lower than the 779,239 registered vehicles, which does not include franchised buses, public light buses and special purpose vehicles.

According to an index produced by the Rating and Valuation Department, the average price of a carpark lot rose 204 per cent from 2005 to 2015. Overall residential property prices increased 223 per cent in the same period.

Currently, the average price of a lot is HK$1.2 million, up from HK$397,000.

Analysts, however have warned that demand could drop in the face of an expected economic downturn, which could lead to a property slowdown.

"If the economy turns sour, what will you first to dispose of? It will not be your home, but your car," said Ms Dorothy Chow, a regional director of valuation advisory services at real estate firm JLL.