Author Topic: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments  (Read 7066 times)

CanuckExpat

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-26/you-ll-never-be-homeless-in-america-if-you-re-a-car

My favorite part is the acknowledgement at the end that a good chunk of that space isn't for cars, but for crap:

"The share of households that own three or more cars has remained comparatively flat...The garage sale, meanwhile, is so called because itís a method of emptying the junk out of a cluttered garage...consumer goods enter the world from an Amazon fulfillment center and exit through the self-storage center in the industrial building next door. A giant suburban garage makes for a convenient way station."


JLee

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 02:33:38 PM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

Chris22

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 03:14:00 PM »
Kind of a stupid article. Complains about housing inventory shortage and insinuates it's related to three car garages; I'm guessing where inventory is short (San fran, Seattle, NYC) is not where three car garages are being built...

CanuckExpat

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2016, 03:22:02 PM »
I'm guessing where inventory is short (San fran, Seattle, NYC) is not where three car garages are being built...

You would be surprised. A lot is related to really stupid/outdated/car-centric zoning that forces/enables a lot of these things.

The exact case you mentioned is probably right, but for example when I was in San Jose, I was trying to do some renovations which would have essentially created an extra guestroom/office/in-law suite at the expense of an old garage. The dwelling itself was fine, but I ran into trouble with minimal covered parking requirements (and some more stuff about minimal driveway lengths). This was in an area that was in biking distance of downtown and the central transit hub.

I had given up at that point, asked a local staff person about it later, they kind of shrugged it off and admitted most of the codes were written in a hurry in the 70s, when energy was cheap and everybody loved suburbs and car oriented design. Nobody really wants to go through updating that stuff, it's contensious, unsexy, and doesn't get you re-elected.

When you dig into the stuff about not building smaller & more affordable apartments, you run into zoning a lot as well.
Tangential to the point, but fucking zoning stuff. 

bacchi

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 04:19:51 PM »
I'm guessing where inventory is short (San fran, Seattle, NYC) is not where three car garages are being built...

You would be surprised. A lot is related to really stupid/outdated/car-centric zoning that forces/enables a lot of these things.

The exact case you mentioned is probably right, but for example when I was in San Jose, I was trying to do some renovations which would have essentially created an extra guestroom/office/in-law suite at the expense of an old garage. The dwelling itself was fine, but I ran into trouble with minimal covered parking requirements (and some more stuff about minimal driveway lengths). This was in an area that was in biking distance of downtown and the central transit hub.

I had given up at that point, asked a local staff person about it later, they kind of shrugged it off and admitted most of the codes were written in a hurry in the 70s, when energy was cheap and everybody loved suburbs and car oriented design. Nobody really wants to go through updating that stuff, it's contensious, unsexy, and doesn't get you re-elected.

When you dig into the stuff about not building smaller & more affordable apartments, you run into zoning a lot as well.
Tangential to the point, but fucking zoning stuff.

It's changing. Some cities have reduced the need for parking requirements if the new structure is close to a transit hub or 3 (or whatever) bus stops.

gimp

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 07:17:41 PM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

My dream right here, mate.

Syonyk

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 07:39:52 AM »
Morton building with a small living space upstairs.

A friend seriously considered that. All shop, basically, with a bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchen.

No Name Guy

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 08:28:14 AM »
People wish Bacchi........

Tangential to the point, but fucking zoning stuff.

This.

The funny thing is you mentioned Seattle specifically, Canuk.  Where the micro apartment was invented....and shortly thereafter killed by zoning and one "good intention" after another.  Where the genius city council wrings their hands about the "homeless crisis" and "lack of affordable housing" while they themselves removed one real possibility for creating lots of low cost housing that actually makes economic sense (that is, rents are low AND it's profitable for the developer).

http://www.sightline.org/2016/09/06/how-seattle-killed-micro-housing/


Quote
You draw up plans to build 40 apartments of 175 square feet each. You estimate rent at $900 per month. That amount might sound expensive if you havenít shopped for rentals in Seattle recently, but itís a steal: conventional studios now go for $1,400 on average.

Not so fast. Some of the folks who live nearby are upset about what you have planned. So the City Council passes new rules bumping up your units to an average of 220 square feet, and then, in committee, adds some more rules that jack your average unit size further.

You redesign your project according to the new rules and find that you are now down to 27 units of 260 square feet each. Thirteen Annas just lost their housing, and the remainder saw their rent rise by a third, to about $1,200 per month. But at least you are in the MFTE program, so five of your apartments will offer a discounted rent of $1,020 per month to people whose incomes qualify. (You facepalm in disbelief, however, that whereas your original plan offered 40 units, unsubsidized, at $900 a month, your new version has just five units, subsidized [at taxpayer expense, driving up the cost of all other housing in the city due to the property tax levy to pay for this subsidy], at $1,020.)


And it just goes on from there.

Next time you hear your city council wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of affordable housing or sky high rents, ask them what they've done to remove zoning blocks to enable the market to satisfy the need without subsidies.  Here in Seattle, there is one council member in particular that wants to spend $60 million of public money to create "low cost housing" yet has been on the council since the worst of the rules that blocked the fix came into being.  Being an engineer, that tells me this individual isn't interested in actually fixing the problem since they're not taking steps to push an effective, zero cost to the taxpayer solution.

Chris22

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 08:32:44 AM »
Being an engineer, that tells me this individual isn't interested in actually fixing the problem since they're not taking steps to push an effective, zero cost to the taxpayer solution.

Or, more likely, is too stupid to understand the cause and effect of their actions.  In government, never attribute to malice what can be blamed on sheer ignorance. 

No Name Guy

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 01:14:30 PM »
Being an engineer, that tells me this individual isn't interested in actually fixing the problem since they're not taking steps to push an effective, zero cost to the taxpayer solution.

Or, more likely, is too stupid blinded by their political world view to understand the cause and effect of their actions.  In government, never attribute to malice what can be blamed on sheer ignorance.
Fixed it for you....in the case of this individual who is a self described socialist.

But yes.....I agree to never ascribe malicious intent when a lack of understanding of the problem (cause / effect) will explain a given behavior.

Miss Piggy

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 01:24:43 PM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

My dream right here, mate.

Mine, too!

Shadow99

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 01:27:47 PM »
Think of how mustachian these people are. A huge garage is a great way to keep property taxes down - the square footage isn't taxed the same as finished square feet. They're savvy and saving money! :)

mm1970

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 01:31:44 PM »
I'm guessing where inventory is short (San fran, Seattle, NYC) is not where three car garages are being built...

You would be surprised. A lot is related to really stupid/outdated/car-centric zoning that forces/enables a lot of these things.

The exact case you mentioned is probably right, but for example when I was in San Jose, I was trying to do some renovations which would have essentially created an extra guestroom/office/in-law suite at the expense of an old garage. The dwelling itself was fine, but I ran into trouble with minimal covered parking requirements (and some more stuff about minimal driveway lengths). This was in an area that was in biking distance of downtown and the central transit hub.

I had given up at that point, asked a local staff person about it later, they kind of shrugged it off and admitted most of the codes were written in a hurry in the 70s, when energy was cheap and everybody loved suburbs and car oriented design. Nobody really wants to go through updating that stuff, it's contensious, unsexy, and doesn't get you re-elected.

When you dig into the stuff about not building smaller & more affordable apartments, you run into zoning a lot as well.
Tangential to the point, but fucking zoning stuff.

Oh well, but there's another side to that.  Here in town, there's this new push for more workforce housing, because it's expensive as shit here.  So under a new "AUD" plan (Average Unit Density), certain areas of town are being given the opportunity to increase density to provide more housing.

There are problems with this, of course.  In my 'hood, and many other hoods, there is a requirement for each unit to have 2 off street parking spaces.  One covered, one uncovered.  Now, some houses have approved exceptions (like mine, because the lot was split in the 1950s and the garage went to the newly built back house).  So my house is required to have 2 off street spaces that are hidden by a hedge.

Anyway, now there are lots that are zoned "R-1" (residential, 1 unit) that are being approved for more units.  So you'll have a nice old couple in their 850 sf 2 BR house...and suddenly, right up to the lot line, there are three apartments that are 2BR, 2BA...but with only *one* off street space per unit.

I can tell you, each unit is going to come with AT LEAST two cars, if not 3.  I know it SOUNDS nice to say "we don't need that much parking", but the honest truth here is that the town is just going to make it worse and worse. 

The only place I've ever lived that was better than this was the DC area.  I had an apartment.  I got one spot.  If you wanted a second one, you had to pay for it, and there was a waiting list. The city streets around the building had zoned parking, and you needed a permit.

This town is not like that.  People have cars, and they drive them, and ignoring it is just really stupid.

mm1970

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2016, 01:42:08 PM »
Being an engineer, that tells me this individual isn't interested in actually fixing the problem since they're not taking steps to push an effective, zero cost to the taxpayer solution.

Or, more likely, is too stupid to understand the cause and effect of their actions.  In government, never attribute to malice what can be blamed on sheer ignorance.

I don't necessarily think they are stupid.  In my town, it's super expensive, and there is literally no way to make everyone happy.

On one hand, worker housing is a problem.  Rental vacancies <1%.  There is SO MUCH TALK about needing work force housing.

On the other hand, there are a LOT of slow/ no growth people.  They have their homes, they don't want more people, more traffic, more cars. 

We are already in the midst of a drought, and don't have enough water.
We already have a huge homeless problem, with a fair # of people living in RVs.  (That's okay, we banned them from parking in the city. Suck it poor people!)
We already lose a lot of rental housing to Air-BNB.  (In fact some of the AUD "in fill" mentioned in my prior post is being used for that.)

There really is no easy answer.  You allow high density smaller units, and the neighbors are pissed.

gimp

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2016, 03:46:03 PM »
Think of how mustachian these people are. A huge garage is a great way to keep property taxes down - the square footage isn't taxed the same as finished square feet. They're savvy and saving money! :)

I never considered that - that's awesome.

I wonder - where's the line between finished and unfinished? If a hypothetical garage happens to have a couple lifts, a fancy super-easy-to-clean floor, heating and cooling, a bathroom, and maybe a loft to the side... :)

"Yeah, my place is pretty small, only about 700 square feet. Oh, those three cars in the garage, and the five in the pole-structure garage/barn thing I built to the side? Yeah, don't worry about those, mr tax man. They're old and nearly worthless. Don't peek under the hoods though."

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2016, 03:59:22 PM »
I'd be happy to give up half of my square footage, but not my 3 car garage. We have two cars and a wood shop in there! (Plus 4 bikes, 2 kayaks... Not much "stuff" though)

Metric Mouse

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2016, 01:08:09 AM »
Morton building with a small living space upstairs.

A friend seriously considered that. All shop, basically, with a bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchen.

I have a friend who does this. And rents out the bedroom, sleeps in the shop.

FINate

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2016, 11:11:17 AM »
I don't necessarily think they are stupid.  In my town, it's super expensive, and there is literally no way to make everyone happy.

On one hand, worker housing is a problem.  Rental vacancies <1%.  There is SO MUCH TALK about needing work force housing.

On the other hand, there are a LOT of slow/ no growth people.  They have their homes, they don't want more people, more traffic, more cars. 

We are already in the midst of a drought, and don't have enough water.
We already have a huge homeless problem, with a fair # of people living in RVs.  (That's okay, we banned them from parking in the city. Suck it poor people!)
We already lose a lot of rental housing to Air-BNB.  (In fact some of the AUD "in fill" mentioned in my prior post is being used for that.)

There really is no easy answer.  You allow high density smaller units, and the neighbors are pissed.

Heh, we may live in the same area :)

The hypocrisy of slow/no growth people bothers me.  They are outwardly very concerned with the welfare of the poor -  those struggling to pay rent - and blame others such as landlords for the cost of living.  Yet they actively work to prevent new housing, and higher density housing in particular. They drone on about how the infrastructure (roads, water, sewer) cannot support more people, but at the same time do everything in their power to prevent improvements in infrastructure. I've witnessed first hand as people lobbied to prevent expansion/improvement of the sewage system as a way to stop development. Same for efforts to expand the water system, and local roads.

It's the right of people living here to decide if/how they want to grow, I have no problem with that. I just wish they would own the full consequences of their decisions, rather than getting worked up and blaming others every time there's a sad (and it is sad) story of some long-time local getting priced out of the area.

Shadow99

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2016, 10:40:54 AM »


...I wonder - where's the line between finished and unfinished?...
[/quote]

In general, the space needs to be "livable", with finished walls, flooring, insulation where it should be by building codes, etc. Garages have concrete floors = not finished for property tax purposes.

The specific requirements I believe can slightly vary from region to region (like the determination for a room being qualified as a bedroom). It can work both ways though too, so if planning on selling down the road, converting that space to finished square footage before listing can mean a higher sale price.

This whole topic probably only rings a bell for me because I live in a high property tax state (off the top of my head I think around $25-30 per $1k assessed value with assessed values being above market prices).

mm1970

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2016, 11:26:50 AM »
I don't necessarily think they are stupid.  In my town, it's super expensive, and there is literally no way to make everyone happy.

On one hand, worker housing is a problem.  Rental vacancies <1%.  There is SO MUCH TALK about needing work force housing.

On the other hand, there are a LOT of slow/ no growth people.  They have their homes, they don't want more people, more traffic, more cars. 

We are already in the midst of a drought, and don't have enough water.
We already have a huge homeless problem, with a fair # of people living in RVs.  (That's okay, we banned them from parking in the city. Suck it poor people!)
We already lose a lot of rental housing to Air-BNB.  (In fact some of the AUD "in fill" mentioned in my prior post is being used for that.)

There really is no easy answer.  You allow high density smaller units, and the neighbors are pissed.

Heh, we may live in the same area :)

The hypocrisy of slow/no growth people bothers me.  They are outwardly very concerned with the welfare of the poor -  those struggling to pay rent - and blame others such as landlords for the cost of living.  Yet they actively work to prevent new housing, and higher density housing in particular. They drone on about how the infrastructure (roads, water, sewer) cannot support more people, but at the same time do everything in their power to prevent improvements in infrastructure. I've witnessed first hand as people lobbied to prevent expansion/improvement of the sewage system as a way to stop development. Same for efforts to expand the water system, and local roads.

It's the right of people living here to decide if/how they want to grow, I have no problem with that. I just wish they would own the full consequences of their decisions, rather than getting worked up and blaming others every time there's a sad (and it is sad) story of some long-time local getting priced out of the area.

At least in my location, it *appears* as if the low/slow growth people are not the same people who are working to make lives better for the poor.

Generally, the low/slow growth people are older, own their homes, like their neighborhoods, pay $1000 a year in taxes on a $1M home, and want things to stay that way.  They don't want in-fill, more school taxes, more traffic, more apartments.

The "density" folks tend to be the ones worried more about the poor.  Everyone wants their own slice of the pie.

Goldielocks

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2016, 06:21:53 PM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

But that would be kinda awesome, no?

JLee

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2016, 08:34:22 PM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

But that would be kinda awesome, no?

Absolutely!

Metric Mouse

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2016, 04:44:10 AM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

But that would be kinda awesome, no?

Absolutely!

Build one?

JLee

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2016, 09:00:32 AM »
Yet I can never find a 3 car garage with a 1br attached apartment...sigh!

But that would be kinda awesome, no?

Absolutely!

Build one?

It's crossed my mind, more than once...

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2016, 09:07:59 AM »

Build one?

It would be hard to find an area around here that allows that. We don't have an HOA, but the city still requires a minimum square footage for our development. Maybe if you were in an unincorporated area.

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2016, 10:47:14 AM »
I know a couple of people who did exactly this. I know of two that were out in a rural part of the county. The one I was in was a nice place. One bed, one bath, generous living spaces on top of three car garage.

The other one was like the apartment that the Fonz lived in without the Cunningham's house next door. Small town with fewer restrictions.

robartsd

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2016, 12:19:28 PM »

Build one?

It would be hard to find an area around here that allows that. We don't have an HOA, but the city still requires a minimum square footage for our development. Maybe if you were in an unincorporated area.
I've heard of someone getting permits to build a house and detached garage with secondary living quarters above. The garage was phase 1; they never got around to phase 2. Makes the permitting process much more expensive (need to develop plans and pay for a permit for something you don't intend to build), but that could be a workable strategy in some jurisdictions if building on a large lot. If you want a large shop, reasonable 1 bedroom apartment, and very little yard space you're probably out of luck.

CanuckExpat

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2016, 01:05:10 PM »

Build one?

It would be hard to find an area around here that allows that. We don't have an HOA, but the city still requires a minimum square footage for our development. Maybe if you were in an unincorporated area.
I've heard of someone getting permits to build a house and detached garage with secondary living quarters above. The garage was phase 1; they never got around to phase 2. Makes the permitting process much more expensive (need to develop plans and pay for a permit for something you don't intend to build), but that could be a workable strategy in some jurisdictions if building on a large lot. If you want a large shop, reasonable 1 bedroom apartment, and very little yard space you're probably out of luck.

That sounds like it could cause a problem if/when you tried to sell. Since that is essentially an unpermitted addition.. or is it? It's permited, but the work was not completed...

robartsd

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2016, 01:18:58 PM »
That sounds like it could cause a problem if/when you tried to sell. Since that is essentially an unpermitted addition.. or is it? It's permited, but the work was not completed...
It would depend on the jurisdiction approving the plans as separate phases so that phase one is signed off as completed; if the jurisdiction did not approve a phased approach, you are correct that it could become an incomplete project without a use permit.

gimp

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2016, 02:10:26 PM »
Honestly, if I built a me-place like that, I wouldn't give two shits about resale value.

Metric Mouse

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2016, 02:21:40 PM »
Honestly, if I built a me-place like that, I wouldn't give two shits about resale value.

Buu...buu.... but what about your Net Worth??

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2016, 02:22:31 PM »

I've heard of someone getting permits to build a house and detached garage with secondary living quarters above. The garage was phase 1; they never got around to phase 2. Makes the permitting process much more expensive (need to develop plans and pay for a permit for something you don't intend to build), but that could be a workable strategy in some jurisdictions if building on a large lot. If you want a large shop, reasonable 1 bedroom apartment, and very little yard space you're probably out of luck.

You'd get some really expensive fines in my city.

gimp

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2016, 02:42:40 PM »
iowajes, seems like the real solution is to build the house and the garage, and just rent the house out...

Mouse, :) exactly!

GetItRight

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2016, 06:55:33 PM »
Yet it's difficult to find a property with a 3+ car garage and <1300sf house on a lot that I can't spit into the neighbors yard. I want garage or shop space for my hobbies but I don't want to pay $10k+ in taxes on habitable space or be on top of neighbors. Seems most big garages come with huge luxurious houses.

Goldielocks

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Re: America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2016, 07:07:16 PM »
Yet it's difficult to find a property with a 3+ car garage and <1300sf house on a lot that I can't spit into the neighbors yard. I want garage or shop space for my hobbies but I don't want to pay $10k+ in taxes on habitable space or be on top of neighbors. Seems most big garages come with huge luxurious houses.

Hmmm,  let me think here.

We bought a 1500 sq.ft bungalow, on a full finished basement (another 1100 sq.ft), with a two car garage....  Technically it had one bedroom up and no ensuite, and the basement was quite cheaply finished -- tear out ready.. but with room for 3 bedrooms and another bathroom.

... and oh, yeah, we bought it primarily because it had a 550 sq.ft shop space under the 2 car garage...   this space was originally earmarked by the owner / builder for a "indoor / outdoor swimming pool"....  never built, but a concrete floor was put in. 

So, a 2 car garage x 2 levels.   On a 1 bedroom bungalow...      They do exist, but this home was on the market for over a year because of its strange layout and condition and over pricing initially.


To find such a place was unique, we looked at many homes including ones with room to build a shop in the back, and settled on a horrible house layout plus age, requiring a massive remodel, just to get this workshop feature.   I am still not sure if the renovation cost was worth it, but DH definitely thinks so.

These types of unique homes are more common in areas that were custom built for a single owner.