Here’s the lowdown
Go to the built-up, urban area on the edge of a city near you, somewhere that’s full of narrow streets and Victorian terraced properties. You’ll know somewhere close to you, most likely.
The supply of garages is severely limited – they’re few and far between. Home-owners with a decent car and a people carrier will pay top whack to rent or buy somewhere to keep those vehicles safe and close by. So too will commuters, as appropriate.
Short supply, high demand – and prices are at a premium. The same basic garage is near worthless as an investment on a rural housing estate and pretty much priceless on the edges of that city. What you’ve got to do is to find yourself a garage in a short-supply, rising-demand scenario and that pretty much means city centres across the country.
‘Location, Location, Location’
Just as you would with a flat or house, you need to walk the streets and soak up the know-how – looking at garages, streets, street parking, bus routes, bus stops, bus stations, car parks, main routes in and out of the city, taxi ranks, railway stations etc – anything that has any sort of influence at all on supply and demand. You’d do it if you were investing in a buy-to-let, so do it for a garage too.
Talk as well to anyone who’ll give you a minute or two of their time – agents, bus drivers, taxi drivers; anyone who might tell you something you didn’t know. Maybe teenagers hang out round those garages at night with; off-putting when someone pulls up at night to park their Mercedes in your garage.
Go for one garage to start with – it’s much easier to buy and at a lower per-garage price than a parade which will often attract the attentions of a developer. And your lone garage – in the middle of a parade – may attract a premium price sometime down the line if a developer moves in with plans for a mews development there.
Points To Ponder
Approach your purchase as you would a buy-to-let property investment, looking for both an income stream from your immediate investment and capital appreciation in due course. Do not tie yourself into a long-term income stream though. If congestion charges are brought in and/or rail links have been completed, demand should rise – and rents will too.
Consider security and associated costs. To rent and re-sell, you must offer secure off-road parking. No-one’s going to leave their Mercedes in a garage with a lock that can be flipped opened with a rusty fork. Likewise, think about insurance – higher than if you lived in an adjoining property.
Take legal advice as you would for any other property purchase. Check the title deeds to see if there are any restrictions on usage. Sub-letting can be a big no-no in some instances – find that out before you hand over your money.
Property auctions are a great place for buying garages. Parades tend to go to the big London auctioneers. Single garages tend to stay local. Sign up to Property Auction News to source garages at auction; email back for details of the newsletter.