A car drives past residential buildings in Hong Kong on November 26, 2012. – AFP

HONG KONG: An individual car parking space has sold for HK$1.3 million ($166,666) in Hong Kong, reports said Monday, as investors seek new ways of making money amid sky-high property prices.

Buyers have turned to parking lots to make quick gains after the government imposed a series of measures last month to try to cool the Chinese city's overheated housing market.

But the soaring price of a car park space is raising concern that money flowing into the city could further inflate the red-hot property market, the South China Morning Post reported.

Tycoon Li Ka-shing's flagship Cheung Kong Holdings made HK$600 million ($77 million) over the weekend after it sold 514 car park slots, according to the Post and The Standard newspapers.

Some of the slots, priced between HK$980,000 and HK$1.3 million and located in the New Territories bordering mainland China, were quickly resold for profits of up to HK$300,000 each, the reports said.

Cheung Kong could not immediately confirm the sales when contacted.

The parking lots reportedly can be rented out at HK$3,800 to HK$4,700 a month, fetching a yield of about four per cent and attracting investors after housing market sentiment was dented by the cooling measures.

“It's natural as people don't want their money to stay idle in the bank,”Wong Leung-sing, research head of estate agency Centaline, told AFP.

“(The measures) force people to turn to speculation in the car park market,” he said, adding that current average car park prices were near the peak levels seen in 1997.

The government last month announced a series of measures including raising the special stamp duties for properties re-sold within the first three years of purchase, to try to rein in home prices.

Authorities said the price of small and medium-sized apartments surged 20 per cent in the first nine months of the year.


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