Millennials are attributed with the death of all kinds of products, traditions, and even entire industries. Some of these theories have compelling data to back them up, like the decline in diamond ring sales. Others do not (we’re pretty sure Millennials still use napkins.) One new trend that is being laid at Millennials’ feet, though, is the decline in demand for parking spaces. A recent article from Hanleywood explains:
“Driving habits have changed. Millennials are applying for fewer driver’s licenses than past generations, and they own fewer cars. They favor ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, and with the advent of driverless cars on the horizon, the trend is expected to grow.”
While it may seem that the increase in urban population (and corresponding housing demand) would lead to a greater need for parking spaces, that isn’t the case in most areas. Owning a car is an expensive investment, and in many cities it can prove to be more of a hindrance than a help. This creates a problem for apartment complexes, as many municipalities still have regulations on the books that mandate a 1-1 or even 2-1 ratio of parking spaces to units.
If you are currently having an issue with underutilized parking spaces in your apartment complex, don’t worry. There are a number of ways that you add value to the property with that extra space.
Rent Them Out
A single complex usually hosts a wide variety of tenant configurations. A single tenant in their 20’s may not need any parking spaces at all, but the group of four college students next door could probably use a couple. You might be mandated to supply a certain number of parking spaces for each unit, but that doesn’t mean that you need to let them stand empty if the tenant isn’t using them. Consider renting out unused spaces to other tenants who want them. It may mean more paperwork, and shifting things around as you fill more units. However, it also means that you’ll be able to make additional annual revenue that otherwise would be left out on the asphalt.
Convert Them Into Storage
Space is pretty much always at a premium in apartment complexes, with parking spots often being the lone exception. If you have a problem finding enough storage space, either for your own staff or for tenants, why not convert some of those chronically empty parking spaces for storage? It may not add revenue, but it can make everything run much more smoothly, depending on how short on space you are.
Build More Units
If you’re sitting on a large number of unused parking spaces, and you don’t anticipate using most of them any time soon, it might even be worth building more units on the property. The demand for parking spaces may be down, but the demand for housing isn’t going to decline any time soon. You could definitely make a better return on investment with new units than by simply leaving the area as empty space.