Money Property Parking glut may be inflating apartment prices
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Parking glut may be inflating apartment prices

Three VW beetles parked in a row.
There is a glut of unused inner-city carparks in Melbourne, new research reveals. Photo: Getty
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A glut of parking spaces may be unnecessarily pushing up the cost of inner-city apartments, a property expert has warned.

“Over half the residents of inner Melbourne do not own cars, and many people are paying for a space that they do not want or need,” said Dr Elizabeth Taylor, an urban researcher at RMIT University.

“This adds to the cost but not value of housing and undermines the quality of the street.”

New research by Dr Taylor, for the City of Melbourne, found residential apartment parking spaces outnumbered vehicles by 40 per cent, with up to a third of residential car spots left vacant.

There are 13,000 excess off-street residential car parking areas in inner Melbourne alone, her report estimated.

A single carpark can add more than $50,000 to the cost of an apartment, experts say.

For this reason, a “one size fits all” approach is no longer suitable when it comes to car parking, Dr Taylor told The New Daily.

“The further from the city you get, the less true that is, but it’s certainly true that people are also more willing to forgo a parking spot for something else.”

In most parts of Australia developers must provide one car park for each one- or two-bedroom apartment, plus a visitor parking space, unless a waiver is granted.

Last year, affordable, eco-friendly housing pioneers Nightingale Housing were granted permission to build a five-storey apartment building with zero car spots.

Car-free not for everyone

Going car-free isn’t for everyone, though, with some body corporates resorting to extreme measures to deter residents from using visitor-only car parking.

Residents who park permanently in visitor bays are a serial problem for body corporates, according to Queensland-based body corporate management firm Archers director Andrew Staehr.

Body corporates in Queensland have little recourse, Mr Staehr said, with current legislation requiring a lengthy application process before a vehicle can be towed.

“Some body corporates have taken the attitude of ‘If we privately tow someone once it’ll be a big turn-off to others’, but it’s not advisable,” Mr Staehr said.

For now, body corporates must resort to “imploring people to abide by the same rules that everyone else in the complex abides by”, he said.

“Sometimes living in a multi-unit development or townhouse does require some compromise and restraint.”

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