The personal financial benefits of going car-free

What are the real, personal financial benefits of going car-free?The friendly folks at the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) have provided a collective body of research, Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse (RBC), the goal being to help build more affordable, pedestrian-oriented residences, especially in preparation for what they’ve been instructed will be an innovation-minded administration. The following statistical summaries are found within:

– Minimum parking requirements, often legislated by local municipalities, can increase the price of housing by approximately $30,000 to $40,000 per unit. RBC source #1, RBC source #2).
– Eliminating a parking space saves $53,000 to $117,000 from increased housing prices, reduced loan eligibility, and public infrastructure, from U.S. Federal Highway Administration transportation specialist, Allen Greenberg.
– Mandatory parking requirements increase development costs by as much as 21%, from a Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California report. RBC source.
– It’s well known in the industry that average car ownership and operation costs of $5000 a year translates into a mortgage that is larger by $100,000.
– Parking spaces add $20,000 to $30,000 to the cost of housing, up to $50,000 in some parts of the city, according to the City of San Francisco planning department.
– 24% more households could afford houses and 20% more could afford condominiums if they did not include parking, concludes another SF study.

Solutions are simple, yet difficult to get municipalities other than the leading cities of San Francisco, Seattle and possibly Washington DC to approve:
Eliminate required parking spaces per unit.
Unbundle parking from a unit so that they’re ‘sold separately’ (like batteries).
Provide car sharing, where each one takes 14 others off the road, according to a 2005 Transportation Research Board study.

The next entries will look at real world brick and mortar solutions…