08/09/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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In big cities, parking costs more than a flat

In Xi’an, a parking space costs the equivalent of a 70m2 flat. The situation is getting worse each year, as more cars are added to the road than there are parking spots. Developers are taking advantage of the situation whilst the authorities are slow to react.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and home to 8 million people, a residential parking space at the Honorable Place residential development can cost up to 400,000 yuan (US$ 62,000), compared to the average price of a new home of “only” 5,398 yuan per square metre. For Zhang Jigang, director of property market supervision in the province, "It's about time the sale of parking spaces was regulated” because “Some developers have been making excessive profits and this has affected social stability."

The average sales price for a residential parking space in Xi'an is about 170,000 yuan. In some high-end communities, it goes much higher. And what is true in Xi’an is even truer in bigger cities. In some high-end communities in Beijing, the cost to own a parking spot has now reached 800,000 yuan. In downtown Beijing, prices climbed to 200,000 yuan in many communities.

So far, in Guangzhou, the most expensive parking spaces went for 720,000 yuan each at the Lanse Kangyuan housing project near Binjiang East Road. Only three years ago, they went for 300,000 yuan. For residents though, finding a place to park after 6 pm is real nightmare.

In Shanghai, parking space costs about 150,000 yuan on average, but in some places, the price can be three times as much.

In Haikou (Hainan), a parking space can cost property owners more than 450,000 yuan, which could fetch a small flat in mid-range communities.

Chinese authorities have tried to put a lid on skyrocketing prices and bring under control the real estate boom, but in the case of parking space, they have failed.

In Shaanxi, the local Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department issued the country's first directive on the sale of parking spaces on 10 June. Regulations allow market forces to set prices, but ban overpricing. They also set the annual increase in price to below that for housing.

However, developers have been able to get around the rules by getting buyers to sign long-term rental agreements. In response to this practice, the Shaanxi housing bureau fined the developer of Honorable Place 530,000 yuan for misleading homeowners about prices and for selling its parking spaces before getting the permit to do so.

In Shanghai, the pricing department recently issued regulations that urged property developers to explicitly list the price and number of parking spaces in a development and post them prominently in their sales offices.

Experts note that the actual average cost for a regular underground parking space is about 3,000 yuan per square metre. But in Xi’an, the city reports a deficit of roughly 300,000 parking spaces of about 1.2 million cars.

In their own defence, developers say that they are doing nothing more than respond to market demands. Critics counter however that new developments are often built without planning for the parking needs of their future occupants.

In the meantime, 23,000 new parking spaces were built last year in Beijing, but 700,000 new cars were added to local roads.
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