If you thought luxury cars like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Boxster were a necessity in Hong Kong, Bloomberg points out that a golf cart is actually the hottest vehicle to buy right now, with estimates ranging from HK$2 million (approx. $255,000 USD) or more.
This form of transportation is currently the choice in Discovery Bay, an upscale neighborhood for the wealthy, which doesn't allow private passenger cars to be driven around the neighborhood.
With the country's Transport Department capping golf-cart licenses at about 500, the supply limit has essentially transformed the golf cart into a luxury transportation, as some buyers view them as investments by renting them out or reselling to make money.
Golf carts can be bought for less than $10,000 in the U.S, but in Discovery Bay, buyers are paying for the licenses, which can only be owned by residents who also own property, and can also be freely traded between individual owners.
Buyers are attracted to golf carts partly because of the high cost of real-estate investments in Hong Kong, and according to Bill Chan, a director at real-estate agency Century 21 Newcourt Realty in Discovery Bay, "You have HK$2 million, better buy a golf buggy rather than put it in the bank."
In addition, Katie Jepson, one of the owners of real-estate seller Headland Homes, said gold cart sales increased during the last few years after the government introduced higher stamp duties.
"If they’ve got an extra HK$2.5 million, instead of buying a small apartment you have to pay stamp duty on, people have been buying some golf carts," Jepson said. Carts can earn monthly rents of HK$8,000 to HK$10,000, she estimated.
In comparison, renting a golf cart can cost more than a "nano" flat, which consist of ultra-small apartments measuring less than 200 square feet in size, and cost between HK$8,000 and HK$12,000 a month to rent.
Furthermore, residents face a high risk in spending money on the vehicle built primarily for golf, as residents still have alternatives like biking or internal shuttle buses, which poses a threat that there’s no guarantee prices for golf carts will stay high.
For the full story, head on over to Bloomberg.
Also, in case you missed it, China’s abandoned bike problem is worse than you could imagine.