Miss Lam and her boyfriend would rather wait for an hour for a metered parking space on Tung Choy Street in Mong Kok than cough up over HK$30 (US$3.90) for a space at the Langham Place carpark.
For a movie night at Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay, the couple took advantage of the four-hour complimentary parking at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre, took a shuttle bus to go to Telford and come back for their car at KITEC.
“The amount we saved in parking fees could reach HK$100,” Lam tells the Hong Kong Economic Times.
And while hourly parking rates seem to have gone over the roof in the city, car owners also find that monthly rentals for parking space at various residential projectss have also risen.
Mr. Kwan, who lives in Mei Foo Sun Chuen and owns two cars, finds that an increasing number of residents at nearby Manhattan Hill are now parking at his development.
“Monthly rental is HK$3,000 at Mei Foo Sun Chuen, while it is HK$4,000 a month at Manhattan Hill,” Kwan explains.
But the surge in demand from Manhattan Hill residents is driving prices up at Mei Foo Sun Chuen.
“A parking lot in Mei Foo Sun Chuen is now about HK$900,000, which is three times what it was two years ago,” Kwan says. Still, that’s cheaper than the HK$1.4 million price tag next door at Manhattan Hill.
“With HK$1.4 million, I could buy a flat in mainland China,” he sighs.
Should parking fees continue to go up, Kwan says he may have to sell one of his two cars, or park one of them at an open-space carpark, which charges a lower monthly fee.Such is life for many of Hong Kong’s car owners.
Although flat rentals have stabilized and the city’s inflation rate fell to 3.3 percent last month, an 18-month low, the cost of parking is going up.
At Windsor House in Causeway Bay, the monthly fee for a fixed parking space has jumped 20 percent to HK$5,500 from a year earlier. For a floating parking space, the fee has gone up 25 percent to HK$4,500.
Four out of 11 major car parks across Hong Kong have recently hiked their fees by 5 to 25 percent, according to the newspaper’s survey.
Both Windsor House and World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay have increased their parking rates to HK$34 an hour, up 13.3 percent from HK$30 a year ago.
According to government statistics, private housing rentals in July rose 5.2 percent from a year ago. That’s 0.3 percentage point lower than the growth in June. Dining-out expenses rose 4.4 percent in July, also lower than the 4.7 percent increase recorded in June.
However, parking expenses went up 3.1 percent year on year, compared with a 2.7 percent increase in June.
A spokesperson for Wilson Parking admits parking fees were adjusted in June to address increases in operational costs.
Local economist Andy Kwan said the slowdown in inflation should cease soon as housing rentals have recorded continued increases, especially among smaller units. With most restaurants raising food prices towards the end of the year, inflation could increase for the second half of the year.
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