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Rising gas prices aren't the only thing affecting drivers' wallets lately. The cost of parking is also on the rise in cities across America.
Nationwide, daily parking rates jumped 10.1% in the past year, to an average of $15.28, according to a new survey released by real estate services firm Colliers Intl. Average rates for monthly unreserved parking space rose 4.4% in the same period, to $153.19 per month.
BUSY DOWNTOWNS. Monthly unreserved rates in the 49 U.S. markets included in the survey ranged from a high of $887.80 in midtown Manhattan to a low of $20 in Memphis. And even though Manhattan's parking prices exceed the average monthly rents for housing in many U.S. cities, parking can cost plenty in many international cities. A spot in London's West End now costs about $898 a month, with a daily rate of $58.80. And in Tokyo, drivers pay about $84.20 per day to park, while a monthly spot costs $702.
The good news? Rising costs for both daily and monthly parking are a general reflection of a healthy economy and high consumer confidence. Monthly parking costs reflect the rising demand for downtown office space, while daily parking rates are a function of strong retail sales and tourism.
WALK TO WORK. Colliers predicts that even an economic slowdown won't slow the rise in parking prices, since demand for parking continues to outpace supply. And building new garages isn't the answer, according to Ross Moore, director of Market & Economic Research for Colliers Intl. "The numbers just don't work," he says. Land values in major cities continue to rise, and the condo craze that's hit downtowns of late has driven up the cost of already expensive land.
Also, construction costs have also risen sharply over the past years as international demand for steel and concrete—particularly in China—has put pressure on materials suppliers. That makes it harder for parking garage owners to recoup their costs.
As parking prices continue to rise, cities are looking at other ways to manage the demand, including encouraging people to leave their cars at home. David Feehan, president of the International Downtown Assn., said most cities are expanding public transit while developing partnerships with car-sharing firms and creating programs encouraging commuters to bike or walk to work.
Want to know if your city is among the most expensive? Take a look at the following slide show.