The DEAL – Would you buy an extra car parking space?

By | June 17, 2008

I was emptying the mail at school today, when I picked up a flyer that had a picture of a car on the front. I scanned the Chinese, immediately noting that they were offering parking lots for sale in our building. So I began to wonder if it’s a good way or not to make a little extra cash.

The DEAL

Quite simply: one parking lot is available for approximately NT$550K. That would allow you to park one car there wherever the lot is located in the building.

The Opportunity

Once purchased, you would be able to rent out the lot to whoever you can find. If the lot is located on the B2 floor, you could probably rent it for NT$2000 per month. For the lot located on the B3 floor, you might manage to earn about NT$1700 per month.

The Costs

There are of course costs associated with this kind of purchase: transaction and other one off costs. When the deal goes through, you’ll face the challenge of finding customers, too. On a regular basis, you will need to pay NT$200 per month in building fees that are applicable to all car parks in the building. There aren’t any upfront taxes I’m aware of, other than the requirement to report your income.

How much can you earn?

Over one year, and assuming you cover the building fees, you’d likely earn about NT$18600 or so. This would amount to a gross return on investment of 3.38%. Additionally, you may be able to sell the car park at some future point in time, which might earn additional growth in the value of a carpark. If your client pays the building fees, then you could make an additional NT$2400 pa., earning 3.81%. You may also be able to purchase the lot at a slight discount of 5%, improving your ROV nicely to about 4.01%

What is the highest interest rate?

I’ve been searching for ages, and I’ve found that the highest interest rate you can get at the moment in Taiwan is approsimately 2.65% for a 12-month CD at the post office. There are occasional offers marginally better than this, but since the Post Office is govt. backed it’s likely that this is the best you can get.

So, if you bought it straight up, your gross margin would vary from the minimum of 0.75% to a more respectable 1.36% vs. the post office rate.

There are a number of assumptions in this scenario that would warrant further note.

  • Could you rent the space out for 12 months EVERY month? It’s not likely, there are times the lot would be empty for sure, as you wait for your next client.
  • Rental units in this area of Tamsui are generally undersubscribed and there is a reasonable supply of spaces BUT several of the lots are above ground, and as property prices spiral, it’s likely those lots would be turned into apartment blocks which may or may not have open access parking.
  • The population in Zhuwei is certainly rising, and quickly, so this should also help property values in the medium to long term.
  • There isn’t a big office space market here yet, though, so finding a renter would likely mean that the renter is himself renting an apartment without a space. Many in our community do this already.
  • I’d certainly be happy to have another source of income from a parking lot; perhaps even two lots would help me reach a personal goal.
  • Mortgage such a lot might help improve returns on the purchase, but with mortgage rates nearly at 4%, it’s unlikely that you’d see much benefit. And rates are rising.

A final note: Taiwanese are happy to buy apartments and car parks for rental and rent them out at rates we would find worthwhile doing. For example, people buy a house @ NT$5 million and rent out the house for less than NT$15K per month. The amount wouldn’t even cover the mortgage if it was over 50% of the total. It’s a math that has ALWAYS puzzled me.

Would you do this deal? Let me what you think…