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Is $400 per month for season parking outrageous or reasonable?
Well, it depends ... But what does it depend on?
One suggestion: the price of a hamburger! This rule-of-thumb for hourly parking prices comes from Pete Goldin at the Parking World blog yesterday, citing Dr Adhiraj Joglekar, founder of the website driving-india.blogspot.com. Hmmm. I guess they are alluding, tongue-in-cheek, to the Big Mac Index from the Economist. This index uses burger prices to correct for differences in the purchasing power of money in different countries.
But seriously, what is the right comparison?
Purchasing power is obviously not the only issue here, since parking prices usually vary from place to place within every city. Prices range from zero in many suburban parking lots to 'expensive' in the city centre. But the last time I looked burgers were not free-of-charge in the suburbs.
How about comparing parking prices with property prices?
After all, parking is a use of real estate, right? Space that is not used for parking could be used for some other real-estate use. India’s National Urban Transport Policy says explicitly that public parking prices should take account of land prices (although it doesn't say how to make this happen).
So, as part of the Asian cities parking study, I compared city-centre parking prices with office rents.
This was helped by nice data from Colliers International on both CBD parking prices and Grade-A office rents for many cities around the world. The graph below is the result, using their 2009 data.
Click on the image for a larger view.Interesting, no?
The contrasts are striking (even allowing for possible inaccuracies in the data and other quibbles).
We have cities near the diagonal line where CBD parking prices per square metre are comparable with Grade A office rents. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are prominent along with London City, Vienna, The Hague and Sydney.
At the other extreme, Delhi and Mumbai in the upper left part of the graph have expensive office space but extremely cheap parking. So much for having parking prices take account of land prices.
Jakarta and Bangalore at the bottom left have cheap parking and cheap office space.
I was a little surprised by Singapore's rather cheap CBD parking relative to its CBD office rentals. However, since 2003 the parking requirements were lowered drastically. So the CBD parking supply per worker is gradually decreasing now, which should push parking prices up.
Hong Kong and Tokyo are also intriguing. Their CBD parking prices are among the highest in the world. But from the perspective offered by this graph, such parking prices are not surprising given their expensive CBD real-estate generally.
What do you think? Are real-estate prices (rents) a useful comparison for parking prices? Can data like this provide any policy guidance?
In the graph both CBD parking prices and CBD Grade A office rents are shown on a rent per square metre basis. To convert parking prices per space per month to parking prices per square metre per month I used 19.5 sq. m. as a very rough estimate of the space required for a parking space, including aisles, etc. So $10 per sq.m. per month is about $195 per parking space per month.
The data for the graph came from:
- Colliers International. 2009a. Global CBD Parking Rate Survey 2009. Colliers International. http://www.colliersmn.com/PROD/ccgrd.nsf/publish/0EB9D100B7A442F8852575F600699A07
- Colliers International. 2009b. Global Office Real Estate Review: Mid-Year 2009. Colliers International. http://www.colliersmn.com/prod/cclod.nsf/City/31627F1939A8C67A8525764F007B44E8