Are you paying $ 2,000 a year for an unnecessary parking space?

If you want to save on accommodation, here’s a tip: avoid paying the costs of accompanying parking spaces.

Parking spaces are among the most expensive equipment in the accommodation. Two locations are roughly 360 square feet, which is the square footage of this writer’s first apartment in Manhattan – and that doesn’t account for the space used to get in and out, which brings the square footage to 600-700 feet. squares. .

In some areas, such as Southern California, almost all homes, townhouses, and apartments have at least one space, and often multiple spaces. Each space costs around $ 30,000 to build in a typical parking structure, says CJ Gabbe, associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Santa Clara, and up to $ 50,000 for underground spaces – which is no only construction costs, not land prices.

A recent study from Santa Clara County, California found that 13% of its area was devoted to parking, along with about half of commercial land. Who pays for all this parking? If you don’t follow the advice in this article, you do. By the way, the average price per square foot of condos in Santa Clara exceeds $ 700.

To avoid paying for parking, you must first understand why parking is so expensive. Typical city parking policies for real estate developers are as old as your grandparents. Most municipalities insist that developers build two parking spaces for each new house or apartment. Equally onerous are the parking requirements of businesses and office buildings, often requiring parking lots to accommodate vehicles on the busiest days of the year, such as holiday shopping. Many of these policies have remained generally consistent for half a century.

You already pay dearly for this parking, whether you drive or not. In densely populated or sought after postal codes, all parking space means fewer people can live there, which increases rental and purchase costs. Driveways, garages and pitches are also included in property valuations, and therefore taxed.

But tenants pay a particularly high cost. A study co-authored by Gabbe found that a typical subway parking spot in an apartment building costs tenants around $ 2,000 per year (in 2021 dollars) – and even more in high rent areas. . Over a lifetime, that’s easily over $ 100,000. “It’s a cost that is implicitly paid each month by households, whether they have a car or not,” Gabbe explains. The people who bear these costs unnecessarily are also often low-income households without a car. The same study found that around 7% of renter households with a parking garage did not have a car. Maybe they would rather have an extra $ 100 each month to spend on something else?

If you’re thinking of going without a car, it’s good to know that some cities have made some or all of their transit systems free. Even when public transit isn’t free, it’s often much cheaper than paying for a car and parking.

Gabbe has a few suggestions on how to avoid paying for parking you don’t need:

• Look for buildings without parking spaces. If there are no parking spaces, you don’t pay for them. “Older, pre-war housing tends to have little or no parking,” Gabbe explains. The same is true for some very new housing in regions that have recently reformed their policy.

Seattle, for example, after years of fierce debate, allowed some multi-family developments without a parking space. The Seattle average price per square foot for condos is around $ 600. Portland, Ore., Has also significantly relaxed parking requirements for new developments. Portland’s average price per square foot for condos is around $ 400.

• Stick to places accessible to public transport. You are more likely to find accommodation that does not have parking, as well as more options for getting around without a car.

Ask the owner to do a la carte parking. If your unit comes with a parking space, see if your landlord will lower the rent if you don’t take the parking space. (City bylaws on this vary.) It’s the model of the future – house rent is house rent and parking rent is parking rent.

• Rent your parking space. If you don’t have a car, capitalize on this location. In some cities, like New York, secondary parking markets are booming. Certain buildings of course limit the rental of pitches to non-residents.

You also can’t go wrong moving to municipalities that have reformed their off-street parking requirements. Although it looks like a traffic jam waiting, Gabbe says no. Developers often build spots even when they’re not needed, and almost every neighborhood in America already includes plenty of them. “Because it takes a long time for a new low-parking development to come online, most places will have ample parking for decades,” he said.

Whether it’s included in the rent or in the purchase price, parking is expensive.

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