The lack of parking spaces being built in new downtown condos is becoming an issue for many buyers, as developers are only offering spaces to buyers who meet a certain price threshold.
It’s worse in China. Oh, it’s way worse…
From “The Economist”….
A dearth of parking spaces riles the middle class
March 24th, 2012
AS PROTEST movements go, the recent gathering of rabble-rousers in an underground Beijing car park was hardly momentous. But on a cold, damp night the distress was palpable, and the calls for action heartfelt. The red banner they unfurled said it all: “My car has no home to return to!”
The 30-odd protesters were all residents of the Yinfeng Garden apartments, an upper-middle-class housing development in north-east Beijing. Some have lived there since buying flats ten years ago, at which time they say they were promised the right to rent parking spaces for 300-800 yuan ($50-130) a month for as long as they lived there.
But last year the management suddenly announced that residents would have to buy the spaces, for around 165,000 yuan ($26,000). That’s more than some owners paid for their cars, and many refused to fork out. Spaces were sold to newcomers, and ugly retaliation ensued. Cars were scratched, wing mirrors smashed and tyres slashed. Hot-heads called for yet more direct action, proposing a mass protest in which residents would use cars to blockade the complex. Police were called several times, but did little more than urge people to resolve the disputes themselves.
Parking traumas are not confined to residential areas. Downtown, too, the desperate scramble for parking spots has been added to the problems of chronic congestion, rising petrol prices and choking pollution.
As in other large Chinese cities, one cause is scarcity. The number of cars in Beijing has more than doubled within the past decade to 5m, with only an estimated 740,000 spaces in which to park them. A year ago the city took an obvious step, mandating an overnight fourfold increase in parking fees. Roadside parking attendants endured abuse and attacks. Gonglian Shunda Parking Management, one of the few companies authorised to collect fees for roadside parking, reported 30 violent attacks on attendants in Beijing in the first two weeks after the fee rise, surpassing the total for the previous year.
But scarcity is not the only factor. China’s wobbly legal system is also to blame. Since many housing contracts predate the car boom, the details of access to parking spots fall into a legal grey area, making it difficult for urban residents to resolve their complaints.
Chinese law is developing fast in commerce – and property-related areas, but not fast enough for some, so protests about parking spaces and housing will continue. It may not be a revolution, but protecting the new-found property of an aggravated middle class is one more item on the long list of problems that the Communist Party needs to solve.
Soooo…….we’re not the only city in the world that has a shortage of parking spaces?
It seems like just yesterday that Toronto was nothing but a series of parking lots.
Urban Toronto has done a few posts on this subject and provided us with dozens of photos like the one seen here:
Once upon a time, it seems, there were more spaces than actual cars! Almost every one of the parking lots shown in the above photo is now a condominium.
According to The Economist, things are a lot worse in China where law can, apparently, be considered an entrepreneurial venture. Of course, any sentence that ends with “…the long list of problems that the Communist Party needs to solve” is troublesome to begin with.
But this article brought something to my attention that I never realized, even though it’s always been right there in front of me: parking spaces cost more than cars. The article explains that a parking space in China is $26,000, and it’s my understanding that China is home to many compact cars that likely don’t cost more than $26,000. I’m sure the average price of a car in Toronto is in excess of $30,000; maybe even $35,000, but the average parking space in a downtown Toronto condo is likely in that neighbourhood as well. New developments are charging $40,000 for spaces!
Am I the only person that finds this tragically ironic? A parking space can cost more than the car itself!
And when you consider that many buyers of new pre-construction condominiums in Toronto aren’t even afforded the opportunity to purchase a parking space unless they buy a 2-bedroom unit and/or meet a price threshold, then parking spaces become even more valuable, as they are even more scarce.
At a time when our Toronto City Council is mired in endless debate over public transit, it seems that the cost of owning and maintaining a car in this city is skyrocketing.
Personally, I don’t think that above-ground LRT’s are going to help the city’s congestion problems, but many of those on the LRT side of the argument don’t believe in cars as a method of mass transit, and I think some of these people are so far to the left (and perhaps green too), that they don’t care how difficult and expensive owning a car might become.
I think the subway versus LRT conundrum essentially boils down to the age-old “quality versus quantity” equation. I think we get once chance to do this right, and personally, I’m in no rush to see a decision made at City Council. If it takes another year to figure this thing out, then so be it.
No matter what the outcome, fewer people will be driving cars in the near future. The carless-movement is already underway in downtown Toronto as more and more of my first-time-buyers are seeing the value in a $300,000 condo as opposed to the same unit for $330,000 with parking, and the convenience of Zip Cars and the like are making the decision easier for those car owners who only drive a few times a month and whose cars sit in their underground parking spaces; that is, if they’re allowed to own that space in the first place…
Although, I suppose things could be worse. 5,000,000 cars in Beijing with only 740,000 parking spaces?
Hmm. I wonder what their public transportation system is like. They have LRT’s, don’t they?