Boston Parking Spaces That Cost $1,900 a Month

David Bates / August 18, 2011-12:09 pm

     In the spring of 1979, two developers purchased for $450K a three-story building in the best part of Beacon Hill that garaged 110 cars. A few months later, the developers converted the 155- to 171-square-foot parking spaces into parking condominiums and asked would-be buyers for $8,000 a space, the same sum a Boston Globe article at the time asserted could “buy a small summer cottage on a pond or a lake.” The legendary value of Beacon Hill parking spaces had been born.
     The next spring, the Globe predicted that it wouldn’t be long before re-sales of these Brimmer Street Garage parking spots would garner $20K. Some compared the parking price run-up to the run-up in the price of gold, which had appreciated from $240 an ounce in the fall of 1979 to $440 an ounce in the spring of 1980. But while the value of gold lagged for many years thereafter, the value of Brimmer Street Garage parking spaces continued to appreciate.
     A review of condominium sales over a recent 12-month period showed that Beacon Hill remained the toughest Boston neighborhood to find a condominium that had the modern amenity known as a “parking space.” More than 89 percent of the 162 condominiums that sold in Beacon Hill during that time period failed to have parking included, including 66 Mount Vernon, a home which — incredibly, even without parking — fetched $3.1 million. One wonders what the price might have been if the 2,888-square-foot triplex had a parking space? The moon? LOL.
    If you remove the condominiums sales in modern buildings in lesser Beacon Hill locations (Province and Bowdoin), only eight Beacon Hill condos sold with parking. Another way to put it: Buyers are facing about 20-1 odds of securing a classic-style Beacon Hill condominium  that has secured parking. That is why the median price of a condominium on Beacon Hill that had parking was $1.1 million. But apparently, even trunkfulls of money can’t resolve the parking challenge buyers are facing: Out of the 28 condos that sold for more than $1 million, only nine had parking.
     Even in a down economy, sales at the Brimmer Street Garage are apparently still fabulous. MLS public records show a June parking spot sale of $280,000, a sales price higher than that of 13 Beacon Hill condos that sold over the previous 12 months, including a 604-square-foot one-bedroom on West Cedar. Now, parking spaces are not typically financeable. But if they were, 70 Brimmer #204 might cost in excess of $1,900 a month to carry — a total which includes $1500 a month for the loan ($280K @ 5 percent for 30 years), $215 a month in condo fees and $192 a month for the real estate taxes. Of course, the additional cost of tipping the valet would at the discretion of the owner.
     If gold had appreciated similarly to Brimmer Street parking, it would be trading at more than $7,000 an ounce today. So forget about buying gold, buy Beacon Hill parking. Perhaps that is why legendary mutual fund manager Peter Lynch owns not one, but TWO Brimmer Street Garage spaces.