Could you be financing parking spaces in the future?

by Rachel.Norvell15 Oct 2014
In densely populated cities where land comes at a premium, parking garages and spaces are often the first thing to go. So, as the cities’ populations keep growing and developers make way for condos and commercial buildings, parking spaces eventually become a commodity.

In Hong Kong, parking spaces are attracting real estate investors, who see them as potentially lucrative investment opportunities. Recently, a parking space in a residential neighborhood on Hong Kong Island sold for 4.24 million Hong Kong dollars ($547,000).

Last month in New York City, news broke that a Manhattan developer was selling parking spaces at its condo development in Manhattan for $1 million. And last year in Boston, two parking spaces sold at an auction for $560,000.

In Los Angeles, parking has reached such stressful levels that a mobile app was developed to allow drivers to profit from their parking spaces. The app lets drivers in parked spots notify other drivers when they are leaving, and will turn the space over to the next driver for a fee.

In Hong Kong, low supply and high population are driving demand for parking spaces. With land at a premium, the majority of homes in Hong Kong don't come with a driveway or garage. The result is about 683,000 parking spots for a population that exceeds 7 million.

In U.S. markets like New York City, Boston and Los Angeles, space is limited, land is costly and populations are growing. In Manhattan, luxury apartments have been selling for more than $90 million, and median home prices in Los Angeles hover around $608,000 and have almost reached prices during the pre-recession bubble.

Meanwhile, more and more residential brokerages are offering parking spaces for sale, like Stuart St. James in Boston. The brokerage said during the past five years, Boston parking spots have grown in popularity, both for ownership and investment purposes.