The Transport Department estimates Hong Kong has 631,000 car parking spaces, of which 203,000 are for public use and 428,000 for private use. Yet demand continues to rise.
In August there were 463,279 registered private cars in Hong Kong, an increase of 21,225 on the previous year. Despite registration tax increases, 21,577 new cars hit the road in the first eight months of the year.
Spaces have long been in tight supply, which explains why Hong Kong has the fourth most expensive daily and monthly parking rates in the world, according to Colliers International's Global Parking Rate Survey 2011.
'Luxury property-owning car lovers can consider buying car parking spaces as the capital value is expected to edge upwards', says Willis Mak, Colliers International Hong Kong's director of investment services.
'The supply of car parking spaces in luxury developments is bound by town planning. In Mid-Levels, the proportion is one space for every four residential units. Although demand for spaces is strong, supply in luxury properties is limited since the government intends to avoid traffic congestion.'
Investment spaces can offer 'about 4 per cent per annum [rental yield], which is higher than residential and office properties', says Mak. 'However, the banks' conservative mortgage plan on car parking spaces and the very limited stock available for sale can affect investment.'
Investment sentiment has 'cooled across property sectors', he says, but 'generally small-to-medium budget investors are looking for stable, high-yield returns'.
New mortgage policies, 'punitive stamp duty on residential property' and low interest rates on deposits encourage investment in parking spaces, says Josh Wong, CEO of specialist website and traders Parkinghongkong.com.
Wong advises investors to 'go for locations where the supply is tight' and the website refers to the Transport Department's Second Parking Demand Study of November 2002, in which Ove Arup & Partners projected demand for spaces would outstrip supply in Tuen Mun, North Lantau, Tai Po and Northern New Territories and be tight in Eastern, Western and Yuen Long.