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Between The Lines, My Parking Space Is A1

Yesterday I got the word that a New York Times story on parking spaces I was interviewed for was going to make the front page, known as A1 or Page One by regular readers. About 20 minutes after I got the call, I started getting email alerts that Lady Bird Johnson [1] had passed away at the age of 94. Not to get sidetracked from the point her but I really enjoyed Robert Caro’s 2 biographies of Lyndon Johnson [2]: Means of Acent and Path to Power.

I had been certain my story would get bumped from A1 forever or another day. I was pretty excited this morning to find Vivian Toy’s story: For Parking Space, the Price Is Right at $225,000 [3] on the front page. Its my 5th time on the front page of the NY Times (but who’s counting) and it is not any less exciting than the first time (back in 2000).

But I digress…

One thing I learned from Vivian is that developers allocate about 150 square feet for a space. 10′ x 15′ Thats about the same size as a separate maid’s room and a similar price point.

Private parking spaces are is a rare commodity in Manhattan. Its a geographic area, where the majority of residents, don’t drive for their commute everyday. The mayor is attempting to initiate congestion pricing [4] to make it more expensive to drive a car or truck south of East 86th Street, which is about half of the island and the most densely occupied. This concept has been successful in London. Commuting by car is not easy within Manhattan. It is expensive and slower than using the subway or other public transportation services. The public transportation system is inexpensive, generally reliable and accessible. Yet the the cost of owning a parking space is relatively expensive, given the current price point of Manhattan real estate.

It is interesting that a premium is being placed on the right to purchase a parking space since this is an area of public transportation commuters. But hey, its all about supply and demand.

My good friend and appraisal colleague in Chicago, Chip Wagner [5] shared with me some stats from what is arguably a much more car-dependent city: $300,000 to $500,000 condo units parking spaces are $25,000 to $40,000
$500,000 to $100,000 condo unit parking spaces are $35,000 to $50,000
And highest I know of is $75,000 for over $2,000,000 properties.

Supply/Demand of parking is not out of flux like your city. Most of the new developments, the ratio is 1:1. Actually, some buildings, the parking spaces may be 4 spots for every 5 units, therefore in a building that might have a balanced or oversupply of units, might have an undersupply or balanced supply of parking spaces.

Based on a median sales price of about $550,000, the price ratio in Chicago is about 7% while Manhattan is about 25% ($225k/$895k).

As Manhattan housing’s fortunes go, so does parking.