A combination of incredibly dense housing, greedy developers, and our attachment to our cars, is costing us thousands of pounds. A new study has revealed that developers are adding an average of 5% onto the property's purchase price when the buyer wants their own parking space. In one case uncovered by the researchers, the developer demanded another £65,000 on the asking price of a £500,000 property.
The study, by Select Premier Insurance, found that the problem was most acute in London, where new properties include a parking space less than a fifth of the time. This tends to be due to a sheer lack of space - which means car parking attracts a huge premium.
The most expensive parking spaces
1. Lambeth, where a parking space is £65,000 for a £500,000 property - or 13% of the property price
2. Chelsea, where parking costs £75,000 on a £849,950 property - or 8.8%
3. Vauxhall, where parking costs £50,000 on a £595,000 property - or 8.4%
4. Greenwich, where parking costs £30,000 on a £412,000 property - or 7.3%
5. Bow Creek, where parking costs £30,000 on a £470,000 property - or 6.4%
The most expensive spaces outside London
1. Leeds, where a parking space is £12,500 for a £99,995 property - or 12.5%
2. Manchester, where a space is £10,000 for a £84,950 property - or 11.8%
3. Manchester, where a space costs £10,000 for a £97,500 property - or 10.3%
4. Brighton, where a space costs £20,000 for a £215,000 property - or 9.3%
5. Nottingham, where a space costs £15,000 for a £165,000 property - or 9.1%
In some developments there simply isn't room for everyone to park, so parking spaces become a hot commodity. It means developers can hike up the price to the level where they have just enough people willing to spend what they are asking in return for convenient, secure parking.
In some cases, people are willing to buy at any cost, so the developers will only offer those buying large or expensive properties within the development the chance to buy a space. The researchers cited a development in Hammersmith, where parking spaces were only an option for those spending £1.5 million or more on a home.
Part of the problem is that there is an acceptance of ludicrous parking charges in London. Now that enough developers have introduced huge charges for parking spaces, it has led buyers to expect it, which in turn allows developers to charge even more.
Outside London - even in major cities - things are far more sensible. Developers in cities like Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol include a parking space in two thirds of sales. However, even outside London, developers have started using parking spaces to generate income - by renting spaces out on an annual basis. The researchers found a space in Bristol charged at £1,400 a year.
What can you do?
You can't just assume this is part of the property price. When you come to sell the property on, you will get a premium on top of your asking price if you include the parking space, but it's unlikely to be as much as you paid for it, so you should see this as a genuine additional cost that you may not get back.
You need to weigh up what it's worth to you, and make one of three choices.
If you decide it would be cheaper to park elsewhere (possibly renting someone else's driveway), you can say no to paying for a space - don't forget to factor in the extra cost of your insurance premium if you park on the street.
If parking elsewhere is extremely expensive and inconvenient, you may decide to part with your car altogether. The plethora of public transport options in the Capital, plus the advent of car share schemes, means there are realistic alternatives for those who only want to use a car occasionally.
But if you really do need a car, and parking elsewhere is too expensive and inconvenient, then you may have no choice other than to bite the bullet and pay for a space.
What do you think? Would you pay thousands for a space, or would you rather walk? Let us know in the comments.