If you’re thinking of building or buying a house, you may want to seriously consider doing so with a garage in mind. In Seattle, a home with a garage sells for 6.1% more than a comparable home absent that convenience, which translates into a $31,796 gain, on average, for the homeowner, according to a new study by Seattle-based Redfin.
Nationwide, on average, a home with a garage sells for $23,211 more than one without, a 12% premium, the online real estate services company reports. In Seattle as of 2018, which was the reference point for the study, 85.1% of homes sold had a garage, compared with the national average of 85.2%.
The top five metro areas in terms of the garage premium are all located in the nation’s heartland. They are, in descending order: Chicago, 38%; St. Louis, 35.1%; Columbus, Ohio, 24.2%; Oklahoma City, 22.4%; and Cleveland, 21.6%.
“In the winter, finding a place to park is even more difficult because more people drive to work when it's cold outside,” says Lamar Austin, a Redfin agent in Chicago. “And when you finally do find a parking spot at the end of the day, you usually have to shovel the snow before you can park there. If you have a garage, you may have to shovel snow from the driveway, but at least your car won't get buried overnight.”
In areas where the climate is warmer or more moderate year-round, such as the five cities with the lowest premiums, garages “aren’t as valuable,” the study notes. Those five metros are Raleigh, North Carolina, 2%; Austin, Texas, 3.2%; Los Angeles, 3.5%; Honolulu, 4.1%; and San Diego, 5.4%.
At 6.1%, the value of Seattle’s garage premium falls near the bottom of the list ― the eighth lowest of the 57 major cities assessed in the study, ranking just ahead of Philadelphia, 6%; and Richmond, Virginia, 5.8%. In terms of the dollar value of the garage premium, however, Seattle ranked eighth highest nationally ― with Chicago at No. 1, with a premium of $46,745.
In Chicago, 94.1% of homes sold have a garage, outranked only by Houston, at 98.2%; Riverside, California, 97.5%; Las Vegas, 97.4%; and Los Angeles, 95.7%.