700,000 carless renters pay extra 13 percent for unused garage parking

By Chris McCahill

A new study finds that garage parking costs the average renter an additional $1,700 per year (17 percent) nationwide. For the average carless renter, the extra cost of unused parking is $621 per year (13 percent). That amounts to $440 million in losses across more than 700,000 households. This doesn’t include units with surface parking, which are less expensive but make up another 45 percent of apartments, so the total cost is likely much higher.

Researchers at UCLA based these findings on data from the 2011 American Housing Survey. They modeled the relationship between rent, parking, and many other control variables in urban areas across the country. Their study is published in a recent issue of Housing Policy Debate.

This work builds on many past studies highlighting the negative impacts of underpriced and overabundant parking, including lost tax revenues and increased traffic. To address the issue, the UCLA researchers recommend policies such as reducing or eliminating parking requirements and unbundling the price of parking from rents.

SSTI offers several useful resources including a recent webinar on how to approach citywide parking demand studies and Urban Parking: Rational Policy Approaches for Cities and Towns, a report developed with the Mayors Innovation Project.

Chris McCahill is an Associate Researcher at SSTI.