HARARE – While Zimbabwean motorists complain that Easipark parking fees are exorbitant at one dollar per hour — translating to approximately $168 per month — someone is paying a hefty $640 000 to buy a parking space.
The price might sound like a steal, but in the Asian financial capital of Hong Kong, with the world’s priciest property, it is for a parking space.
A slab of undecorated concrete, stained by black motor oil, about eight-feet-by-16-feet in size. Price per square, foot nearly $5 000.
Jacinto Tong, described by Chinese media as “the tycoon of parking spaces,” has owned and used this space for the past 10 years.
“I think this is the best car park space I ever had,” said Tong who is the chief executive of Gale Well Group, a property firm that owns hundreds of residential and commercial spaces across the city. “You can go straight to the office and the elevator. Only 20 steps!”
Tong does not own just one $640 000 parking space. He owns two.
“People don’t mind paying more,” boasted Tong. “But I’m not eager to sell.”
And yet that is the reality for Hong Kong.
“That’s ridiculous. One dollar per hour remains too expensive for us in Zimbabwe.
“Consider the state of our economy. People can hardly afford one dollar per day for a meal,” said one Zimbabwean motorist who preferred anonymity.
His view is shared by almost every Zimbabwean motorists.
The $168 per month is for a Zimbabwean motorist who needs parking for an average 21 working days of the month at eight hours per day.
Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, parking business is managed by Easipark, a partnership between City of Harare and Easihold — a South African company.
According to a global central business district parking rates survey by Colliers International (Colliers) — a global property services firm — Hong Kong has the most exorbitant monthly parking fees in the Asia-Pacific.
Hong Kong’s monthly median parking rate was $744,72 in 2011. With less than a dollar’s difference, Tokyo came in as Asia’s number two.
The reason for Hong Kong’s pricey parking rates is rooted in governmental curbs on the city’s residential market, said Buggle Lau, chief analyst at Midland Realty, one of the city’s largest real estate companies.
But, London City has the highest parking rates at $1 083,59 per month.
The city tops the list of the 50 most expensive closely followed by London West End and Zurich at $1 014,32 and $822,15 respectively.
There is no African city in the list. In Cairo, Eygpt, parking rates average $139,51 per month while Cape Town and Johannesburg average $95 and $72 dollars.
Sandton — South Africa’s affluent business centre — averages $101 per month.
“Be it for a day or a month, the cost of parking a car generally increased over the past 12 months.
“With the exception of the United States, all regions saw the price of parking go up,” said Colliers.
The company said; “among the top 10, no single region dominated in this year’s survey; North America, Europe, and Asia Paci?c are represented by a broad mix of cities.
The only region not represented is Latin America; however, almost all Latin American cities saw double digit increases for both daily and monthly parking.”
“Interestingly, two Australian cities again made the top 10 list; Perth at number seven and Sydney at number nine (Melbourne at 11 was just out of the top 10).
The highest daily parking costs were dominated by European cities: Oslo in the global number-one spot at $89,04, Copenhagen, London’s City and West End submarkets, Amsterdam, Vienna and Geneva all made the top 10 list.
Outside Europe, Sydney and Tokyo also ranked in the top 10.
The cheapest city is Jakarta, Indonesia at $0,92 for the day.” — Eric Chiriga/CNN