Will Hong Kong's 'Parking Space Bubble' Burst?

In Hong Kong, new government policies to curb real estate speculation in housing markets have led investors to turn elsewhere for quick, lucrative profits - the market for parking spaces.

January 5, 2013, 5:00 AM PST

By Erica Gutiérrez


“The hottest properties in this frenetic city have no walls, windows or even front doors. Forget condos, apartments and homes,” writes David Pierson. “Real estate investors are scrambling for parking spaces.”

Parking space transactions are up five-fold and average parking space prices have risen 20% from the previous year. Recorded sales and offers on highly coveted parking spaces can soar past half a million dollars. "This market has gone crazy," says Jacinto Tong, head of the Gale Well Group real estate investment firm who was offered $640,000 for each of two spots in the Wan Chai commercial district, adding,”These spaces aren't worth that much money.”

While it's unclear whether this is a short- or long-term phenomenon, it can be at least partly attributed to new curbs aimed at reducing housing speculation. "Hong Kong people always have to invest in something," said Shih Wing-ching, chairman of Centaline, one of the largest real estate firms in Hong Kong, and investors who are looking to avoid taxes, for steady rental income, or to flip a quick profit, have turned to parking spaces.

Hat tip to Daniel Lippman.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 in Los Angeles Times - Business

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