Revealed: The value garages add to NZ homes
With 92 percent of households having at least one car, New Zealand has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. Even in the spiritual homes of autos, United States of America and Germany, car ownership is only 88 percent and 85 percent, thanks to large cities with fabulous public transport. We’re even a whisker above Australia for car ownership rates.
So when home buyers or renters are house hunting, they’re mostly looking for somewhere to store those 4.15 million vehicles owned in the national fleet (that 0.79 cars per Kiwi or 1.58 cars per household).
Since garaging always gets bragging rights in real estate, One Roof and Valocity dug into the data to see what it’s worth. We found that in Auckland not having a garage affected the sale price of a house by two to three percent.
However there are differences around the country.
“In many locations, prices for properties with garages were in line with median values - in other words having a garage is the normal market expectation,” says says Valocity’s director of valuation, James Wilson.
Outside the main urban areas, houses without a garage took a much bigger price hit - between 9 and 11 percent less than the median house. Wilson attributes that to buyer expectation that in more spread out locations, where there is no public transport alternative to driving, a garage is the market expectation. Oddly, in Hamilton and Tauranga, a lack of garage did not affect prices for properties post 1990.
But, warns Property Indepth valuer Rene McLean, not all garages are created equal when it comes to adding value to a property.
“An older double garage might be worth $15,000 to a property in South Auckland,” he says. “But if someone’s spent $25,000 on a brand new one, that’s not adding any more to the price, it’s not worth any more to a buyer.”
In the 1960s, 86 percent of homes had a garage of some sort, peaking in the 1990s at 90 percent. By the 2010s that had dropped back to 84 percent around the country. In Auckland, that’s down to 74 percent.
In new apartment developments, buyer may pay an extra $50,000 to $75,000 for a car park on top of the apartment price, a significant sum which helps them recognise the value of a car in their lives. The record was $265,000 for a park in the city’s Quay Regency building in December 2017.
In Auckland, fully 26 percent of houses built this decade no longer have garages, a striking drop from 20 years ago when it was only 14 percent.
That has changed relatively quickly, as Steve Groves from apartment developers Urban Collective has found. In 2014, when the company marketed 24 apartments on Grey Lynn ridge, the offered only 38 carparks - much to the horror of objecting neighbours. By last year, when they began selling 59 France (on the site of the old Kings Arms Tavern in Eden Terrace) between them buyers of the first 50 apartments had bought fewer than 20 carparks - comfortable to use public transport or car sharing rather than fork out for a vehicle and storage.
“This reflects the changing nature of housing in Auckland,” says Wilson. “With more intensive zoning, developers and buyers are changing their mindset about the need to have garaging.
“This is reassuring, indicating a move to a more international mindset of housing options located close to transport routes.”
Car-free households are most common in the centre of Auckland: 25 percent of households in Auckland central’s Waitemata. On the other hand, households the furthest from the city are more likely to have three cars - a quarter of households in Franklin, Upper Harbour and Rodney.
In Wellington, it’s even more noticeable, where 12 percent of households don’t have a car. There 53 percent of homes built since 2010 don’t have a garage, a reflection of both inner city density and the difficulty of fitting a garage - or even a parking pad - on the city’s steep and winding streets. Dunedin’s topography too explains why 15 percent of builds since 2010 don’t include a garage.
The no-garage trend hasn’t reached car-centric cities like Hamilton and Tauranga, where only 12 percent and 9 percent of houses built this decade go without garages.
In older homes, garages were a separate building, sometimes only a carport. But by the 1980s and 1990s they got bigger and began moving back into the house. Today 87 percent of garages are internal (known as under main roof, or UMR in council parlance) in Auckland.
But we’re only getting more car-heavy.
The number of vehicles grew four percent in the year to 2017, more than the population growth of two percent, according the the Ministry of Transport, and up 23 percent in the decade. Since 2013, the two car household is most common now (at 38.3 percent of households, that’s higher than the 37.6 percent with one car), but there are 16 percent 2013 with three or more cars (up from 12 percent in 1996).