Next time you’re griping about having to feed coins into a parking meter, spare a thought for drivers in Hong Kong, where a single parking space has just sold for $760,000.
The 16.4 by 8.2 feet (5 by 2.5 meter) spot, attached to a fancy downtown apartment block, sold Tuesday for the local record-breaking price of HK$6 million, according to the South China Morning Post.
At roughly $5,360 per square foot, that puts it well above the average price of $1,700 per square foot for apartments in the city, as measured by property website Squarefoot.
The parking space is attached to the Ultima apartment complex in the city’s Ho Man Tin area, in central Kowloon, the most densely populated part of Hong Kong. A 900 square foot flat in the complex sold for upwards of $3.2 million when it was first made available in 2017, according to developer Sun Hung Kai.
The $760,000 price exceeds the previous most expensive parking space in Hong Kong. In 2017, $664,260 was paid for a spot in Sai Ying Pun, on Hong Kong Island.
It doesn’t quite top the ticket price for most expensive parking space in the world, with spots in Manhattan offered for $1 million – but those were far larger, at around 300 square feet apiece, compared to under 150 square feet for the Hong Kong space.
Hong Kong has some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, with the median price of a home in the city costing around 19 times the annual median household income.
It topped a list of the most expensive cities in the world in 2017, the seventh year in a row in a row Hong Kong has held the number one spot. Real estate agents have previously demanded potential buyers stump up a $900,000 deposit just to view properties.
While the properties selling for these staggering amounts are all luxury apartments, even subdivided flats smaller than 100 square feet (9 square meters) can rent for upwards of $380 a month, and many of the city’s poorest struggle to find affordable homes.
Speaking Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was “extremely concerned about the surging property prices in Hong Kong.”
“The ultimate solution lies in finding more land to build more housing units, either for sale or for rental to people of Hong Kong,” she said.
Despite Hong Kong’s density and a common misconception of the city as highly urban (in fact about 40% of the city is parkland), there are large amounts of space locked up in developer land banks and brownfield sites previously used by industrial or commercial projects.
Lam’s government has previously been criticized for proposing to alleviate housing shortages by pursuing more environmentally damaging land reclamation rather than utilizing existing space.
Land reclamation – filling in parts of the sea around Hong Kong – is particularly destructive to the habitat of the city’s endangered pink dolphin population.