Last year, a car park in Hong Kong made worldwide news when it sold a single parking space for $1,121,950 AUD. When the initial shock of that subsided – really, a 5 metre by 2.5 metre space worth more than a house – we got to thinking. Where are the most expensive parking spots in the world? What about the cities with the highest rates for monthly parking? And can we really complain about the parking cost averages in Australia?
If you’ve been curious about how your city’s parking costs compare with the rest of the world, read on! We’re going to answer all of your questions about worldwide parking prices. And just a head’s up, Sydney – we might have you in tears by the end of this article. But no worries, Spacer is here to help you find affordable parking options, no matter where your city falls on the list.
The big names in expensive car parking
We already exposed Hong Kong as one of the most ridiculously priced markets for car parking on the planet, but just how expensive is it? Surely, not everyone is putting down more money than most of us make in a year on parking spaces.
Let’s go through a few of the most expensive cities for parking in the world, stat by stat. We’re pulling the most recent data from Parkopedia’s global parking index, RACQ, Canstar and others to give you the most accurate picture of parking in the world today.
We’re also going to chat a little bit about housing costs in the cities mentioned in this article, as well. That way, you can get a sense of how parking costs compare to the overall cost of living.
And one more thing, before we begin: a note on our numbers. Every price you see in this guide uses Australian dollars.
First Up: Car parking in Hong Kong
As we said, Hong Kong’s priciest parking spot went for $1,121,950. Of course, that parking space was the top of the market in terms of luxury and convenience. As CNN reported, this parking spot was attached to a housing development that was also well beyond the average price for housing, with listings of 84 square metre apartments selling for $4,726,080.
Yet, when looking at parking spot average prices, Hong Kong isn’t the most expensive. In the Global Parking Index, Hong Kong’s average daily parking rate is $34.61, and $17.33 for 2 hour parking. Their rates for monthly parking are around $352. That puts them quite low in comparison to other large cities like New York, London, and (unfortunately) Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
In fact, Hong Kong’s pricey parking spot of over one million dollars wasn’t even the most expensive parking space in history. So, let’s move onto the real big seller, here: New York.
New York, New York: where the car parking is impossible
The city that never sleeps has one of the worst track records when it comes to parking affordability. In the Big Apple, you can expect to pay an average of $48.68 for two hours of parking, $61.39 for the day, and a whopping $895.27 per month. Many people who own cars in New York end up paying as much as half of their rent on parking, alone, which isn’t generally included in housing.
New York is also home to some of the world’s truly most expensive parking spaces. A luxury housing development in Manhattan which opened in 2015, for instance, offered only 3 parking spaces, each for $1,476,450. The building itself was made up of 31 high-end apartments, but strict New York regulations mean that only about 20% of any property can be devoted to parking. What you get, then, is a market in which the competition for parking is fierce, transforming these simple concrete rectangles into powerful status symbols. And it’s only estimated to get worse. Each year, car parks are torn down to make way for new housing developments, which means more demand for parking and less space.
Even more affordable parts of New York City, like Brooklyn, have seen parking spots go to auction for $442,935, which is no small price. City owned-garages and on-street parking rates went up a staggering amount just this year, with 50% increases reported all over the city and its boroughs.
Luckily, Spacer has branched out to New York and can offer monthly parking rates much lower than the average. While this is consistently the most expensive place to park in the U.S., Spacer can offer parking for between $150 and $500 per month in different boroughs.
Just north of NYC, Boston is close to record-setting prices
Boston is a smaller city than New York, but it’s also one of the most expensive when it comes to parking. In 2013, a tandem parking spot in this east coast city was sold at auction for $823,751. Trust us, you don’t want to see the pictures of this parking spot – it’s just a depressing rectangle of concrete behind an apartment building. You would never know from the weeds and encroaching utility pole that this parking space sold for more than the cost of a single family home.
Luckily for the average Bostonian, the price for parking isn’t generally in the 6-digit range. But it is expensive.
2 hour parking can cost an average of about $30, while an all day parking spot can average $50. A parking space for rent monthly usually costs car owners about $500. With Spacer, of course, that monthly price could be as low as $340.
How about the other coast? Parking in San Francisco
New York City and San Francisco often compete for the top spot as the most expensive place to live in the states. The housing market in San Francisco has outpriced many of its long-time residents, making way for tech giants and startups over the last ten years or so. And, as a result, parking is becoming more competitive all the time.
When it comes to outrageously priced single parking spaces, it may not be as common to see million dollar spots like you would in New York or Hong Kong. But, there have still been a few ridiculously priced ones on the market over the last few years. One parking spot in SF went for $118,236 in 2013, and car parking spaces frequently go on the market for anywhere between $81,554 and $111,210. Most of these high priced parking spots are located in the busiest parts of San Francisco, like the Financial District or SoMa.
A month of parking in San Francisco will cost an average of $575.82. If you’re looking for daily parking or just a couple of hours, you can expect to pay an average of $40.48 and $21.93, respectively.
Unlike New York City, where many of the buildings are huge housing complexes with few parking spot options, the houses in San Francisco often have a garage or driveway to park a car. That might be why there are even more options for Spacer parking in San Francisco than in New York, and the rates are much more reasonable than the city’s commercial garage averages. On Spacer, San Franciscans can expect to pay as low as $400 per month.
The European Contenders?
London parking prices
As the hub of the United Kingdom and a huge tourist and business destination, London’s demand for parking is high. So, it’s not surprising to see that London is an expensive place to park.
If you just wanted to park a car in London for a day, you would pay somewhere around $66.46. A couple of hours would cost you $30.68. And for the month? You’re looking at just a few dollars less than New York City at $891.61
One of the most expensive parking spaces in London went for $642,320 in 2014. This desirable parking spot, with a size of 6 metres by 2.4 metres, was located right off Hyde Park Gardens, one of the most expensive areas of the city. When you look at the parking spot, it doesn’t look like it’s worth over half a million dollars. After all, it’s essentially a standard-looking diagonal parking space located at the back of a pretty normal-looking building. But, its location is the redeeming factor. This parking spot is close to Hyde Park Gardens, the M1 (one of the most important motorways in London), and the brand-new crossrail.
Amazingly, that parking spot wasn’t even the most expensive in London history. Another parking space in South Kensington was sold for $729,710 in 2014. This space’s claim to fame was its location right next to Royal Albert Hall. It was also underground and large enough to accommodate up to three cars. And while it’s not the most expensive parking spaces we’ve seen so far, $700,000 is definitely more than most of us would be willing to pay for what is, at the end of the day, a parking spot.
Just to put all of this in perspective, an entire car park was sold just outside of London around the same time for the same price. It had enough parking spaces to accommodate over 90 cars.
Without a doubt, Paris is a desirable place to be. Tourists, long-term residents, business people. Paris has something for everyone. But it comes with a price.
According to the Paris notary chamber, the average price to purchase a parking spot is $65,015. Over the past two decades, parking has become increasingly space in the city as parking lots have been redeveloped. In fact, it’s been reported that 85,000 car parking options have been taken out of commission since 2001.
When it comes to finding a parking space to rent in Paris, the prices aren’t as sky high as some of the other cities on this list. According to Parkopedia, the average price for 2 hour parking in Paris costs about $18. For the day, you might pay around $57. And monthly, you’re looking at $344.
Car parking in Dubai
This city has gained a reputation as a luxurious getaway for millionaires. So maybe it’s not too surprising that this metropolis is also an expensive place to park.
The most expensive parking spot recorded was sold in 2014 for $50,363. Obviously, this doesn’t even come close to some of the truly expensive parking spots we’ve talked about so far, but the prices are only expected to rise. Construction in Dubai is constant, and lots that were previously used as unofficial parking areas are being developed.
Just last year, the Khaleej Times in Dubai reported that families are leaving the city centre because of the rising cost of parking. Especially for households with more than one car, trying to find parking and having to pay the fees for parking violations is just too much.
When it comes to short term and monthly parking in Dubai, the system is a bit complicated. But, it seems to be much cheaper than some of the other cities on this list. The most you might pay, for instance, would be around $8 for 24 hours. And for monthly car parking lots, you’re likely to pay no more than $282 for three months.
And then there’s Tokyo
With a population of over 9 million people, you could probably guess that parking can be nightmarish in Tokyo. In fact, in one of the most populated cities in the world, it’s not so surprising that there are even laws which make it impossible to buy a car unless you’ve already arranged for a place to park it. With that much of a hassle to own a car, it’s understandable that many families would forgo the car and hop on public transportation.
But don’t forget – Japan has a buzzing car culture. In fact, at night, there are rooftop car parks, like the Tatsumi Parking Area No. 1, that convert into unofficial car enthusiast gatherings. If you have a nice car in Tokyo, this is where you go to show it off and ogle at other gorgeous cars.
One of the most interesting things about car parking in Tokyo is the amount of creativity and design that goes into their commercial car parks. If there’s one thing that Tokyo doesn’t have a lot of, it’s open space, so architects have had to come up with some pretty crazy ideas about how to pack the most amount of cars in the smallest amount of space. Some of the newer car parking towers have high-tech lift systems, in which you drive your car into a lift, get out, and then watch your car get taken away to some unknown level of the parking tower. When you come back, your car will be delivered back to you.
Even with the lack of building room, the return on investment for car parking in Tokyo is so high that many developers would rather build car parks than apartment buildings. So clearly, there’s a big demand for car parking, and finding a parking space for rent in the city isn’t impossible, and it’s also not too expensive.
According to the travel website, the Japan Experience, you can expect the lowest car parks to charge about 100 yen, or $1.37 for 30 minutes of parking. For the whole day, you might find a parking spot for around $13. As far as the averages go, Parkopedia reports that daily prices might be more around $41.86. Not a bad price.
As of yet, we haven’t been able to find out the most expensive parking spot that was ever sold in Tokyo. We do know that the apartment buildings most likely to have a parking spot available for residents are new luxury developments or older apartment buildings that were constructed when more renters had cars. Nowadays, wealthier residents are the ones likely to have cars, while average working families tend to rely on public transport.
Those car owners who pay monthly parking are likely to pay an average of $407.
Alright, hold your breath, it’s time to talk about Australia
Unfortunately, Australia has made a name in the global community as one of the countries with the most expensive car parking in the world. We top the charts in daily and hourly parking, although our monthly parking averages are a bit lower than other countries.
On the whole, our averages for two hour parking are around $24. That’s almost $10 more than the United States, where you can find two hour parking for about $15.
When it comes to daily parking, we’re again in the top spot at about $54 for the day. The country that ranks just below us is Russia, where you can find daily parking for $46.
Now, one way to save money when it comes to car parking in Australia is to book monthly. We’re not leading the pack when it comes to the rates for monthly parking, and the average price we pay is $370. That’s $100 cheaper than the most expensive country for monthly parking, Switzerland. As you can see, it’s a much better deal to book monthly parking in Australia, which will come out to around $12 per day.
And, as always, with Spacer, you can find even cheaper rates than our appalling national averages. We’re going to take a deeper dive into each of the big cities in Australia to see exactly why we’ve made worldwide news with our high prices. And, let’s see if we can lower those numbers by booking through Spacer instead.
Who is contributing the most to our high national average? Sydney
We, along with the rest of the world, love Sydney. But they are really driving up our national averages when it comes to the price of parking.
In 2015, a 26 square metre parking spot in Sydney was sold for $264,000. Since then, similar parking spots have gone on the market for between $150,000 and $190,000. One parking spot even included amenities, like access to the attached building’s swimming pool. Come on, Sydney. That sounds a bit ridiculous. When it comes to the average price to buy a single parking space, Findacarpark found that the price for Sydney is generally $73,000.
Where exactly are these most expensive parking spaces in Sydney? Well, the one that sold for $264,000 was located in Potts Point, one of the most sought-out areas in the city. In fact, many of these pricey parking spaces are located in Potts Point. The others, you can find others in CBD. There’s even a seller in CBD who is asking for $475,000 for a tandem parking spot that could accommodate two cars (or $237,500 per car.)
Luckily, the average car owner in Sydney doesn’t have to pay quite so much to find a parking spot. But, it’s still one of the most expensive cities in Australia for car parking.
For off-street parking, Divvy parking found that Sydney residents pay an average of $28.42 per hour. For drivers parking on the street, the average price for 30 minutes of metered parking in CBD is $12.50. The average price for 2 hour parking in Sydney is $42. Not as bad as New York, but not a nice number either way. For the day, you’re looking at an average rate of almost $70! That’s more than London, New York, and really any other comparable city. Ouch. Now remember, these prices are coming from a range that includes a wide range of prices across the city. You can definitely find daily parking for less than $70 but there are also plenty of car parks that charge more than that, too.
Things aren’t quite as bleak when you look at the prices for monthly parking, but they’re still around $575 on average.
Okay, so the middle-of-the-range car parking is pretty high, but what do the prices look like on the cheaper side? Meters are okay for short-term parking, and you can expect to pay $4.20 per hour in many parts of the city (perhaps not CBD or other high traffic areas.) Of course, those spots go fast and you might end up spending time driving around looking for a space. Another option is a commercial car park, which may range from $15 to $40 an hour.
Spacer opens up more possibilities for parking in someone’s garage or driveway, so that you can pay much less than you would at the meter or in a car park. For monthly rates, you can easily find parking spaces below $400, and even some as low as $250.
Another thing to consider here is which suburb to park in. It’s pretty obvious that the average rate for car parking in CBD is going to be a lot higher than one of the outer suburbs. So where can you find more reasonable parking?
As it turns out, pretty much everywhere outside of CBD, Potts Point, Pyrmont, and Woolloomooloo. Even just parking in Haymarket instead of CBD can mean that you can find monthly parking for $200 to $300 instead of $500 to $700 in the inner city. And with the public transit system easily connecting these outer suburbs with the busier neighbourhoods closer to the harbour, these cheaper parking spaces are accessible for many drivers.
Brisbane wasn’t always so expensive, but they’re catching up
When much of the data on parking was collected in the past few years, Brisbane didn’t make too much of an impact. It’s a smaller city than Sydney and Melbourne, and parking wasn’t quite so expensive.
Well, now that Brisbane’s employment is expanding, car parking is becoming a much more competitive market. Divvy parking found that averages in Brisbane for 30-minute parking and off-street hourly parking are quickly becoming more expensive than Sydney and Melbourne. Just 30 minutes of parking in Brisbane can cost an average of $16.98, with an hour of off-street parking averaging $28.71. For two hour parking, Parkopedia’s global index reported that Brisbane residents pay an average of $32.24. That’s just below Sydney and right above Melbourne.
When it comes to daily parking, Parkopedia recorded an average of $53.92. If we’re just talking about Brisbane CBD, data from the RACQ puts Brisbane’s averages at $69.17.
As far as monthly parking goes, the average for Brisbane is just a few dollars under $400. With Spacer, you can find monthly parking, even in CBD, for around $200 to $300.
When it comes to buying a parking space in Brisbane, we weren’t able to find data on the most expensive parking space ever sold in the city. Probably because long-term parking in Brisbane is generally lower than in other major cities in Australia. But that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. And, the problem isn’t just the price – it’s also the scarcity. As of right now, Findacarpark has only three listings for parking spaces for sale in Brisbane, and they’re all between $40,000 to $48,000. That might be because apartments in Brisbane often come with parking included. In fact, according to Aussie.com, it’s common practice for a property without parking included to sell at a discount of $30,000 to $80,000.
How does Melbourne compare?
According to Findacarpark, the average price for a single parking spot in Melbourne is $51,000. And you can easily find parking spaces on the market today for around that price. A secure lock-up parking garage is going for $59,500 in South Yarra on Findacarpark. You can find another for $57,500 on Exhibition Street, in Melbourne’s CBD.These spots pay not be as expensive as the staggering outliers in Sydney, but they’re still wildly expensive for something as simple as a parking space.
And when it comes to car parking averages, Melbourne isn’t too far off from Sydney and Brisbane. According to Divvy parking, off-street parking in Melbourne tends to cost an average of $21.54 per hour in CBD. For two hours across the entire city, Parkopedia predicts you’ll pay about $32. Parking for the day will cost $48.47, and for the month, $375.61.
As you probably guessed by now, Spacer offers much lower rates. The average price for parking in Melbourne on Spacer is $344.10, and you can find parking spaces as low as $200 in some areas.
So, who won the top spot for the most expensive parking space in the world?
#1: New York City – $1,476,450
#2: Hong Kong – $1,121,950
#3: Boston – $823,751
#4: London – $729,710
#5: Sydney – $264,000
#6: San Francisco – $118,236
#7: Paris – $65,015
#8: Dubai – $50,363
#9: Melbourne – $57,500
And there you have it! The most expensive parking spaces in the world. But don’t feel like you have to put these parking spaces on your list of things to see in your world travels. They are, as you might expect, nothing more than rectangles of concrete. Very, very expensive rectangles of concrete.
How do these parking prices compare to costs of living?
So far, we’ve thrown a bunch of numbers at you. At this point, you might see a number like $100,000 and think, “That’s nothing! A parking space in Hong Kong is worth well over $1,000,000!” So, let’s put it in perspective a bit by looking at the average costs of buying property in each of these cities.
Starting with Hong Kong, which holds the title as the most expensive city to buy a home. The average property prices for Hong Kong in 2019 is 1,833,697. A flat of 40 square metres goes for an average of $820,954. For those not looking to buy, the average monthly rent in Hong Kong is $3130 for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre. So, yes, the parking insanely expensive. It turns out, the housing is pretty much impossible, too.
Next, on the list, New York. In this city, the median price to buy a co-op apartment is $1,186,560. This price is lower in some boroughs, and even higher in Manhattan. In fact, in the centre of the Big Apple, you might find it hard to buy a one bedroom apartment for less than $1,483,200. Renting an apartment in NYC is even more expensive than Hong Kong, with an average of $6,582. Again, it makes sense that this city would boast the most expensive parking, too.
Let’s take a look at Boston. According to the real estate website, Zillow, this northern city has a median selling price of $973,275. And to rent a 74 square metre apartment? $5,259 per month.
We mentioned that San Francisco makes the list for the most expensive parking partly because of its skyrocketing real estate. According to Investopedia, the median cost of buying a home in San Francisco is around $111,026. To rent, San Franciscans are likely to pay a monthly average of $6,524.
Across the pond, London is also considered an expensive place to live. In 2019, the average price of buying a home in London is $864,191. That price will likely get you a one bedroom flat. If you’re looking for a detached home, on the other hand, the average price is closer to 1,659,509. Of course, in the case of buying a detached home, you might not have to put thousands of dollars towards purchasing a parking space. For renters in London, the average price per month is $2,379 for a two bedroom. Just how that’s possible, when you can easily pay more than that for a single bedroom in NYC is a mystery to us, but then again, you might end up paying over $800 per month in parking.
The cost of buying property in Paris is high. You can expect prices of well over a million dollars for an average apartment in the city. If you’re looking to rent, the cost to rent a flat will average $4,134.
In Dubai, the prices are back down in the range of $991,621 to buy a flat. Reports show that housing prices are falling, although the cost for parking is staying the same or rising.
Let’s consider Tokyo. It’s the most populated city on our list, and it’s also one of the most expensive to live. New houses in Tokyo can go for $899,941. These new developments are, on average, about 98 square metres. To buy a flat, the average is actually a bit higher, at $990,809. Remember, new apartment constructions in Tokyo are less likely to include parking, so we’re talking about a lot of money here.
Alright, now, how about Australia?
Sydney has a median house price of $1,027,962, as of April of this year, while the median price for units is at $696,935. Those prices are expected to fall over the next few months, but the averages for parking costs aren’t likely to budge – at least not downwards. When it comes to renting, Sydney residents pay a median price of $540 a week for houses (about $2,160 for the month) and $530 a week for flats ($2,120 monthly.)
Unlike in Sydney, Brisbane’s housing prices are increasing. In July, the Brisbane Times reported that the median house price was expected to rise to $665,000 over the next few months. In Brisbane CBD, the median rental price is around $575 per week ($2,300.)
And finally, we come to Melbourne. The median price for a home here is at the top of the list at $834,000. When it comes to renting, the cost to rent a flat could range from $1,963 to $2,425 per month.
Clearly, the cities where we see the most expensive parking spots are also the cities with high property costs in general. After all, let’s take a look at one of the more affordable places to live in Australia.
The median house price in Adelaide, for instance, is $455,000. That is half the price of the most expensive parking spot sold in New York and Hong Kong. And, it’s far cheaper than the most expensive parking spot in Boston and London.
Parking is becoming a worthwhile investment
With all this talk of the most expensive parking spaces in the world and how they compare to housing prices, it’s probably pretty clear that parking spaces are a good investment. All over the world, it seems that housing is developing at a faster rate than car parking. Many cities have strict regulations about how much space new developments can dedicate to car parking, making the market competitive.
In urban areas, where there are fewer attached garages and driveways, parking spaces are a major commodity. Apartments that come with parking can be priced up, and apartments that are sold without can be negotiated down significantly. After all, if you’re going to have to pay an extra $50,000 for a parking space that may not even be attached to your building, you’re going to want to pay less for the flat.
It makes sense, then, that investors are jumping at the opportunity to buy parking spaces. In fact, for many investors, the idea of owning a car park is more appealing than owning an office building. After all, the cost of managing a car park tends to be lower, and the upkeep is much easier.
Of course, not everyone has the capital to buy up entire car parks. But, that’s not the only way to take advantage of the parking spot demand. There are more and more people making their driveway or garage available as a parking space to rent.
What do you think about these expensive parking spaces?
Are you inspired to start saving money to buy your own parking space? Looking to make money off of the parking spot you already own by listing it on Spacer? We want to hear about it all!