Hong Kong carpark sells for record $4 billion

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - The buildings are sky high and so are their prices.

An auction has just confirmed Hong Kong's status as one of the world's most expensive property markets.

The lot under offer was... a multi-storey public carpark.

It's location, among the headquarters of some of Asia's biggest businesses, was the main attraction.

The final price was US$3 billion (S$4 billion) dollars - that's US$6,400 for every square foot.

"We have extremely low vacancy of around about 1.4 per cent vacancy in the current market, a huge amount of demand from mainland firms coming into Hong Kong, setting up their offices here in Central, and as a result it will alleviate a lot of the pressure we're seeing built up in core central," said Hong Kong CBRE managing director Tom Gaffney.

All four of Hong Kong's main property developers were bidding.

The eventual winner was Henderson Land, a firm founded by Hong Kong's second richest man Lee Shau Kee.

It has offices in 14 mainland Chinese cities but no flagship skyscraper in Hong Kong - yet.

"Not many people park their cars there. So I'm hoping the developer will be able to turn it into something that can help the economy," said local resident Ella Wong.

It's the first time in two decades that a plot of land with this much commercial potential has come on the market in Hong Kong.

And whoever ends up living or working there will have some wealthy neighbours.

The buildings either side are owned by Hong's richest man Li Ka Shing.