There’s an interesting contradiction here: as more and more Torontonians are ditching their cars in an effort to cut back on costs, the price of parking is actually increasing in houses and condos!
How does that make sense?
Whether you live in a condo with underground parking, or in a house with front pad, mutual, right of way, private drive, or garage, you have to consider just exactly what your type of parking costs, and how it affects the value of your home.
Oh – and just for fun, let’s segue into bad parking jobs, if only for a moment. It’s Friday, after all…
Have you got your cards yet?
I ordered them in stacks of one-hundred.
And if I saw somebody park the way the car has been parked in the photo above, I’d have no problem leaving one of these on their windshield:
You have to admit, it’s witty and creative.
There are entire websites dedicated to terrible parking jobs, and notes that are left on people’s cars.
This is my favourite, by far:
Jokes aside, I wanted to talk about the cost of parking in Toronto these days, I’m not referring to the City of Toronto raising the cost of tickets!
You might think that all parking is the same in condominiums, but it’s not. Not even close.
Some parking spaces are “owned,” and some are “exclusive use.”
You might not even know the difference. Some people live in a condo and park underground every night for five years, but have no clue that they don’t actually OWN the space.
An owned parking space is one that has a legal title, and can be bought and sold, like a condominium unit, or a locker. You can look up the legal title in Land Registry, and it can be registered on a mortgage along with the condominium and locker, if applicable.
An exclusive use condo is exactly that: you can use it, exclusively, but you don’t actually own it. Think about your balcony, and how you don’t own it. You own your condo – the interior, but you don’t own the balcony. It belongs to the condo, as “common elements,” and you have exclusive use of it. A parking space can work the same way.
An exclusive use parking space cannot be bought and sold, so you might argue that it has less value.
But at the end of the day, if an owned parking space allows you to park underground every night, and an exclusive use parking space allows you to park underground every night, then some might argue that the value proposition is the same.
And who sells a parking space anyways?
At $30,000, it’s very difficult to sell a parking space. As a buyer, you can’t add the deed to this parking space, at $30,000, to your existing mortgage for your condo, at, say, $300,000.
To purchase a parking space, you need cash. Most, if not all parking space sales are facilitated via cash transactions, and thus it is often very hard to sell a parking space.
So for those people that fail to differentiate between and “owned” parking space in a condo, and an “exclusive use” parking space in a condo, I’d have a hard time disagreeing if you opined that the space is not as valuable as one would think.
When it comes to houses, and freehold properties, it’s a whole different story…
The lowest form of freehold parking, to be perfectly honest, is no parking.
How many MLS listings have you seen that specify “parking,” only to read the fine print and see that the listing broker considers the phrase “street parking available” to mean actual parking?
We all know that in the city of Toronto, at least as it stands before the Fall 2014 Municipal election, you can park your car on the city street for a nominal fee (around $12/month), and do without any sort of “legal” or “owned parking.”
As far as actual, legal, “owned” parking goes, the most very basic form of parking is the ever-adventurous “mutual drive.”
The “mutual drive” parking can mean a lot of things.
It can mean ZERO parking, or it can mean actual parking for one car.
It can also mean that there is a teenie-tiny 7-foot-wide driveway that runs between the two houses, where, in 1906, a Model-T Ford was able to drive between the two structures.
If you owned a Mini Cooper, you’d be able to claim, “I have parking.”
But failing that, you simply have a mutual driveway, that runs between the two houses, which the listing agent marketed as “owned parking” with no liability or recourse.
There are, however, some mutual driveways that actually do provide owned parking.
Some driveways in Toronto are wide enough that a Hummer can get between them, and then it’s up to the individual owner as to where, and how, to park.
I’ve seen houses where the owner literally parks the car smack-dab in the middle of the backyard.
That’s “one car parking,” according to the listing. Sometimes, it’s even falsely marketed as “private drive,” even though it’s nothing of the sort.
Many mutual driveways are wide enough for today’s average car to drive through (with or without folding the mirrors in…), after which the owner simply parks the car where the “right of way” ends. The driveway itself often has a “right of way” so that both home-owners can use it, but the right-of-way ends once you pass the back of the house itself. So rather than continue driving right into the backyard and up against the property line, many mutual driveways simply end at the right of way, and more often than not, there’s a garage there, or at least once upon a time, there was one.
That marker basically says “park your car here,” and sometimes you can’t look past the car itself to see the small patch of grass that you call your “yard.”
I’ve seen people build 9-foot fences, slanted diagonally, to block out the fact that their car is parked on a sliver of their property line that doesn’t infringe upon their glorious patch of green sod.
To each, their own.
But one step up from the mutual driveway, be it a real drive, a fake drive, or a drive that encourages you to run over your children’s sandbox – is the “front pad parking.”
Be weary, folks. Be very weary.
If you see a car parked in front of a house, you’d better make damn sure that it’s legal.
Click HERE to start searching, via the City of Toronto, if a given house has an actual LEGAL front parking pad.
Many parking pads that you drive by on a day-to-day basis are actually illegal!
After all – what’s to stop somebody from just driving their car up over the curb, and parking on what used to be the front lawn?
Just because you replaced the grass with stone, concrete, or asphalt, doesn’t mean that your “parking” is legal, as defined by the City of Toronto!
If you’re an active buyer in today’s market – check the front porch to see if there’s a small plaque that refers to LEGAL front pad parking. If there isn’t, then click the link above and see what’s what.
There’s very little to stop today’s listing agents from saying “1” parking space on the MLS listing, but leaving the onus on the buyer to identify exactly what “1” refers to.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the holy grail of parking: the private driveway.
The private driveway is exactly as you would expect from the description: it’s yours, and only yours, and the land is part of your property, and on title.
There is no right of way (unless specified) as with a mutual driveway, and it’s yours to do with as you please.
In some areas, private driveways are the norm.
Consider Rosedale, and how many houses do not have a private driveway. Some homes have extra-wide mutual driveways, that allow you to park in your backyard, but that’s often looked upon as a poor man’s driveway, as would be a smaller home with front-pad parking.
Oh, the humanity!!! Just imagine!
That’s Rosedale, of course, and we’re grading on a curve.
A house on Logan Avenue sold last week in Riverdale, which had an exceptionally rare private driveway, that fit two cars, plus a garage. This house sold for $200,000 over the asking price, and I have to think that in addition to the renovated interior, and rare side yard, the private driveway had a LOT to do with the price that was paid.
Had this home not had a private driveway, what would the house have sold for?
Well that’s the very question we’re asking today: what is parking WORTH?
In some areas, a private driveway is worth $50,000.
Likewise, in some downtown Toronto condominiums, an underground parking space can cost $50,000, either through the developer in pre-construction, or on the resale market.
It’s not out the question to suggest that a $3-5 Million house in Forest HIll or Rosedale might be worth $200,000 more or less, depending on the parking situation.
That seems like a lot of money when you consider that the City of Toronto has raised $40 parking tickets to $60, and has now authorized tow-trucks to haul away cars that have three or more parking tickets outstanding.
So while you guys are trying to figure out what a parking space is worth in Toronto in 2014, I’d better go move my car.
Ah well. At least the city is putting that revenue to good use.