The Value of Off-Street Parking

10th April 2023

The Value of Off-Street Parking

With the number of cars on the road increasing every year, space is at a premium and the value of off-street parking is on the rise. At the same time, councils are creating evermore Controlled Parking Zones, so, more often than not, parking on the road means paying for a parking permit. And, with local Authorities’ (LA) budgets seriously over-stretched, those permits are being seen as a soft target for raising additional revenue.

The average permit costs £103.08 per year, but they vary wildly from area to area and the more polluting cars can be considerably more. Islington is the UK’s most expensive local authority, their permits topping out at £860. It’s not just London that is expensive, though, Manchester charges £750pa for a city centre permit and even the Scots can’t escape the extortionate charges, with Edinburgh’s permits costing up to £580pa. Westminster, on the other hand, is surprisingly reasonable, charging between £117.50-£166/year, depending on the car’s engine size.

Local Authorities claim parking permits only exist to protect parking spaces for local residents and/or to improve the air quality. At those kinds of rates, however, there is no doubt they are being used as a stealth tax and many LAs have announced steep price increases this year. In Lambeth, for example, some residents will be hit with a 385% rise and that’s for the low emission vehicles. In Aberdeen, permits have gone up 233%. And, in leafy Surrey, permits were up 60%.

Mind you, off-street parking is not all about avoiding permit fees, it’s also so much more convenient – there’s no daily fight for that elusive parking spot at the end of a long day - you are always guaranteed a space, even in the busiest of roads, which is especially useful when you are unloading your shopping or packing the car for a long journey.

Then there is the growing demand for home charging points. Currently, there are over 1.2 million electric and hybrid cars in the UK and another 448,000 forecasted to be registered in the next 12 months, but just 11,218 on-street chargers (source: ONS). And, in 2030, the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned, so, if you can just pull onto your drive and plug-in, it will be a real bonus.

A drive is more secure, too, and can reduce the cost of your car insurance. Even if you don’t use your drive, you can make money from it by renting it out through a company such as Just Park, who claim you can earn up to £200/month in some areas of London.

Okay, with so many advantages, how much is off street parking actually worth? It depends on the area and the general availability of parking nearby, but research by Direct Line Insurance shows it is adds a 5% premium to new build properties (an average of £12,500). Another survey, this one by Virgin Money, suggests it adds just under 10% (£25,000) to the value of an average home. That is close to double the added value you might get from, say, updating a kitchen or adding a bathroom.

It means if you’ve got a decent sized front garden, it may be worth considering converting it into off-street parking. You will need to obtain planning permission to get a drop kerb put in, although around 30% are refused permission every year, mostly because the property is on a bend or the view of the road is impaired in some way. Your Local Authority will also charge you for putting it in - in some cases, a considerable amount of money, although the average is around £800 to £1,200. There’s also an application fee of between £70 and £100. If you are granted permission, you will then have to ensure that the materials you use are sufficiently robust to take the weight of a car and that, if its surface is non-porous, you will need to obtain planning permission. Then build costs are, typically, £30-£50/sqm block paving (one of the most common types) and tarmac, surprisingly, is a more expensive option at £50-£100/sqm.

You won’t be surprised to learn that, with all those benefits, it is an extremely popular alteration - applications have doubled over the last 20 years and, no doubt, the value of it will keep on rising.