The downside to a private garage

by Olivia D'Orazio17 Nov 2014
Most agents are quick to count a garage as a valuable addition to any home, but can the space ever hinder a property’s value?

“It depends on a few things,” says Josie Stern, an agent with Sutton Group in Toronto. “If it’s a lower price point property and [the garage] takes up the backyard, it lowers value… if you’re selling a property at the upper end, people generally want a garage.”

Stern says people at the low end of the detached home market have likely moved out of their condo and are pining for an outdoor space to call their own – more so than a garage. She also says the property’s location, outside of its price point, plays a large role in the value of a garage.

“If [the property] is in the Annex, for instance, it’s no big deal [to not have a garage], so it’s a very walkable location,” she says. “But if you live in Lawrence Park, people want garages.”

But, even in higher-end markets, garages can still be a luxury. In the Annex or in the High Park neighbourhood, few properties have private garages, and those that do will likely come with a higher price tag.

“Downtown parking is really difficult, so if there’s not garage you need a [street parking] permit and you won’t always find a spot near your house,” says Vicky Tal, an agent with Forest Hill Real Estate. “But if you have a garage, you’re always guaranteed a spot for your car or your guests’ car.”

Garages are also beneficial to buyers – even in regions with a high walkability score or for those buyers who don’t own a vehicle.

“If they have a bike, they want to store it,” says sales rep Anita Evans. “Or a lawn mower. Some people don’t even look at a house without a garage.”

Outside of the city, garages are an absolute must. Amy Wang, an agent with Century 21 in Markham, says a car is essential to the suburban families she serves.

“If it’s house with a whole family, with kids, they will definitely need [a car],” she says. “So I think [garages] are very important.”

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