My Take

Little guy will pay for parking lunacy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 4:33am

Have we gone crazy? Who would pay HK$1.3 million for a rectangular space marked by white paint! That's the highest price that parking spaces being sold at a Cheung Kong residential estate in Tai Wai have allegedly fetched.

Greasy-haired agents claim some buyers were able to flip the spaces for a quick profit of HK$200,000 to HK$300,000.

Li Ka-shing's flagship property developer is not the only one selling large numbers of parking spaces. Practically every developer has been in the game since the government imposed new stamp duties to cool the overheated property market.

Chinachem Group has released an unspecified number of parking spaces on at least five of its estates. New World Development, Sino Land, Wheelock Properties and others are doing the same. You name them, they are busy selling parking spaces rather than flats.

Our most "respected" and powerful tycoons are actively blowing a bubble over an asset class that is of real value only to drivers and car owners, a tiny minority of our population. So much for their being pillars of the establishment. At least when they are building overpriced shoeboxes, they could claim everyone needs a home. But parking spaces?

Mind you, there is still money to be made. You may be a fool paying HK$1.3 million for a piece of concrete, but you can bet there are, at least for now, greater fools willing to take it off your hands. No one can predict when this game of musical chairs will stop. But you can be sure people like Li will be sitting pretty when the music stops. It's always the little guys, silly and greedy enough to jump in at the last round, who get burned. But hey, that's free-market capitalism.

This is Hong Kong at its most gloriously absurd - its core value on display! I can already imagine what parking spaces at those so-called luxury estates will be like after the inevitable market crash. Outsiders will move in and out of them. Their parking spaces will be used for all sorts of unsightly storage and unpleasant uses, leading to disputes between their owners and estate management. Some may try putting small beds in vans and leasing them out to recover some of their losses.

But look on the bright side. If you are a driver, you will be able to rent several cheap spaces around town for your convenience.