Jul 232013
 

In the last decade or so the price of a Calgary parking spot has increased by 233%, according to Colliers international. Toronto prices have gone up 130%. The median price for a monthly spot in downtown Calgary today is $453, and Toronto is $336. But relative to other urban areas around the world it’s not so bad. Parking in London’s city center for example costs $933 (U.S) a month. Hong Kong is $745, Tokyo ($654) and Zurich ($605)

“The reason prices keep going up really comes down to limited supply,” said Wayne Duong, director of research with Colliers International in Canada. Over the last 10 years dozens of downtown parking lots from cities across the country have been” torn up”, and in their place, now stand condominium buildings 🙂 “A shortage of spots, a lack of new supply and insatiable demand have all contributed to steady price gains in an often forgotten corner of commercial real estate.”

While the trend looks bad for drivers who work in the city core, this is becoming very lucrative for parking lot owners 🙂 Unfortunately when I found out about the following listing the property was already sold so I missed a good opportunity to buy a nice lot in a great location.

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Not that it matters because I don’t have the kind of money to buy it anyway lol. It’s more common for parking lots to sell in bulk such as in the form of a parkade, however sometimes they are also sold individually. For example last month a pair of parking lots in tandem sold for $560,000 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the result of a bidding war, literally, because the parking was sold via an auction. In 1993, the previous owner bought the two spaces for $50,000. You can double check the math if you fancy, but I reckon that’s a 12.8% average return on investment per year. Not bad at all 😀 Parking lots seem like a good way to diversify one’s real estate portfolio. Not only do prices rise over time, but they also provide income potential. And there is very minimal upkeep to maintain a parking lot. Insurance and security cameras aren’t even necessary most of the time.

How to invest in parking spaces? I can only think of a couple ways at the moment. But maybe you can think of others.

  • Call a local commercial real estate agent. For example Macdonald Realty, Avison Young, and Colliers International are just a few names in the greater Vancouver area. Google them and contact one of their reps. Ask them to help you find a parking lot. Similar process to buying a house with a realtor.
  • Buy an apartment/condo that comes with a parking spot. Live in the building yourself, or rent out the condo to someone else who doesn’t drive. Rent out the parking spot (like these examples from Craigslist) and earn some monthly income 🙂

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Random Useless Fact:
Mosquitoes are more attracted to blue than any other color.

Jul 072013
 

If you drive here’s an easy way to save some money. One common problem that faces many drivers is finding parking space. Over time I have developed a very simple strategy to quickly find an empty space in a somewhat crowded parking lot. It’s pretty obvious but here it is anyway.

I basically go for a stall that’s near the entrance/exit of the parking lot 😀 That’s pretty much it. The idea is to park the car ASAP and minimize the amount of time and distance it has to travel within the lot. Most people would probably try to find a spot near the front of the store or entrance but that’s also the busiest area of the lot. Sometimes people circle around and around, wasting money, time, and polluting the environment 🙁 just so they can save seconds off their walk *pfft*

When I drive to work I normally park in one of the stalls closest to the parkade garage door since we don’t have assigned stall numbers. Then it’s a brisk 30 meter (100 ft) walk to the stairs, which takes all of 20 seconds or so. Instead of trying to find a parking spot closer to the stairway entrance I save about 60 meters of fuel per day (^_^) The current price of gasoline here in Vancouver, BC is about $1.45/L ($5.5/gallon) and my car’s fuel economy is about 11 Km/L (26MPG.) This means I save about 4 cents a week on gas! (゜∀゜) And that only accounts for work. Supermarkets as you can imagine have huge parking lots 😀 Sometimes I save almost 200 meters of gas when I go shopping at Costco! (✌゚∀゚) Because 100 meters each way. In the diagram below the green arrows near the left point to where I would park.

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The only downside with parking further away is you have to walk more. But doctors say walking is good for you 🙂 I work 8 hours a day sitting in front a computer desk so I’ll take the fresh air whenever I can :0) Continue reading »