Aussie parking costs big bikkies

Although it has yet to reach sky-high prices like in Hong Kong , London or New York , the advertised price of a single car space in Austral...

Although it has yet to reach sky-high prices like in Hong Kong, London or New York, the advertised price of a single car space in Australia has reached a record high of AUD330,000; the parking space in question is located in the basement of a high-end apartment complex, on a congested corner of Bond and George streets in Sydney’s CBD area.

AUD330,000 for this narrow but long parking space. image: carsguide.com.au
For the same amount, you could buy yourself a comfortable two-bedroom villa with a backyard, garage and air-conditioning somewhere in the suburbs, say, 40 kilometres west of the CBD in Colyton. The highest actual transacted price so far, according to the online car park listing portal findacarpark.com.au, is only AUD250,000, but the portal also experienced the highest number of hits for listings of spots on George Street.

The parking space that is set to break this record was put on the market by owner Terence Chua, who reasoned that it is one of the few spaces in CBD which has a separate title, meaning that the owner can opt to use or rent it out without residing in the building. Other spaces in the area have sold for between AUD150,000 to 200,000, but this particular one is long and can fit two cars, one in front of the other.

“People who live in the CBD know it's almost impossible to find permanent parking," Chua added.

According to Francis Armstrong, founder of findacarpark, Aussies can expect the average price for Sydney parking to increase because new high-rise developments have restricted parking allocations even as the population increase; it’s not difficult to deduce then that increasing demand and decreasing supply will lead to higher prices.

Parking woes is not just a problem in Sydney. Mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettitt, has painted a picture of future Perth, using simple mathematics, if the high rate of car ownership continues. There are about 650 cars to every thousand Perthians, and based on population projection and the assumption that each car needs three parking spaces – at home, at work and one other – Pettitt worked out that Perth would need 3.9 million new parking bays, which would cover a total area of 100sqkm, by 2040.

"Not only would this required parking result in a rather unpleasant, sprawled city but it would come at an extraordinary cost," he said, “When you multiply $30,000 per bay by the estimated 3.9 million extra car bays that Perth will require over the next 25 years, it comes to an astonishing $117 billion.” He added that the country needs to shift focus to high-quality public transportation instead of private cars.

But for those who think that cars will still dominate the roads in the future, and that buying parking spaces might actually be sound investment, here’s another transaction that might interest you. A parking garage in Sydney was sold in July 2012 for the exorbitant price of AUD822,500. Many must have wondered what the buyers were thinking, but in a year, they had turned the derelict garage with rusty roller doors, peeling walls and grease-stained floors into a lavish, contemporary two-bedroom home atop a parking space; and they put it back on the market for more than AUD1.2 million. Ka-ching!

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