The introduction of a buyer's stamp duty, and a special stamp duty in the residential market achieved its aim of driving speculators out of the overheated residential market. But they have turned to speculating on car parking spaces, sending prices soaring as a result.
The shift in focus from the residential market to car parking spaces followed the decision by the government to impose the additional taxes on housing sales on October 26, and gave developers an opportunity to offload accumulated stocks of spaces.
Following the strong sales of Chinachem Group's car parking spaces in early November, Cheung Kong, Wharf, New World, Sino Land, Sun Hung Kai, and Hang Lung Properties all released car parking spaces at their developments for sale.
"Investors are following the herd," said Alnwick Chan Chi-hing, head of valuation and professional services at surveyors firm Knight Frank. "The rental yield [on parking spaces] may look attractive. But, the capital appreciation may not be high."
A property agent who asked to remain anonymous said those speculating on car parking spaces were blind to the risk they were taking.
"Once there is a downturn in the economy it will be hard for you to sell your car parking space no matter how much you cut the asking price. If people sell their cars to cut down on expenses it will be difficult to rent the space," he said.
Furthermore, at their new high prices, rental yields on car parking spaces were no longer attractive, he added.
The average price of a car parking space of Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom, for example, surged 20 per cent from HK$900,000 early this year to HK$1.08 million today. However, the monthly rent remained at around HK$3,000.