The garage has had an important place in the hearts of American homeowners. After the passing of the Federal Highway Act in 1921 car ownership in America soared. This started our love of cars and our obsession over where to store them. In ‘confessions of an automobilist’ an article written in June of 1925 it states, “Real estate men testify that the first question asked by the prospective buyer is about the garage.” The article also goes on to note that “The house without a garage is a slow seller.” Here at The Reeves Team we can assure you that the article from 1925 is as true today as it was then.
Garages have never been more popular than they are today. Over 80% of homes sold in 2017 had a garage, that is up over 20% from the 1960s. Its not just the homes with garages that are increasing, its also the amount of garage spaces with each house that are increasing. Last year 17% of new single-family homes sold had 3 or more garages spaces. So garages have never been more popular than they are today, but will changes in the way Americans are living affect the way we use our garages?
Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lift are making it easier for households to downsize the amount of vehicles they need. A household that used to require one vehicle for each adult can now have one shared vehicle and use ride sharing services to supplement when there is a need for a second vehicle. Currently this trend is only popular among millennials, but if the same trend occurs with cars as it did with cable television, automobile companies should be concerned. The question is, will the growth of ride sharing companies make a big enough dent in car ownership that houses with multiple car garages begin to decrease instead of increase?
Ride sharing companies are not the only threat to garages. If you live in the the Phoenix Metro you are probably familiar with the self driving cars that are buzzing around our roadways. Most Gilbert residents view these as a competitor to ride sharing services, but in time it could be more. Google has already announced that one of its long term ambitions is to have subscription services that you pay monthly for access to rides on demand. Subscriptions services such as these could further allow families to downsize to just one car for the entire household. It may even allow bold individuals to eliminate vehicle ownership all together.
So while it is getting clearer that automobile ownership is probably at its peak and will begin to slow down over time, does that mean the same thing will happen to garages? In today’s housing market we are conditioned to see houses with garages as beautiful. In most peoples eyes houses with 3 car garages have more curb appeal than than those with a two car garage or carport, but will this change in the future?
So is it possible we could look at 3 car garages as eyesores in 20 years? Will garages become detached from houses and hidden away in the back yard as they used to be? The answer is no. There are a few reasons why we haven’t reached peak garage and the trend for 3+ car garages is not going away any time soon.
The primary reason garages are here to stay is that more and more households have become multi generational. Even though the recession has been over for nearly 9 years the number of multi generational homes continues to grow. Over 20% of households in the United States include two or more adult generations. With homes housing more adult family members the need for storage and easy access to that storage will continue to increase. So while we might not be keeping as many cars in our garages in the future we will not have a problem keeping them full.
Another reason garages are not going away is because while cars may soon start disappearing, recreation vehicle ownership continues to grow at a staggering pace. A recent trend the home builders have been experimenting with is selling houses with the option of incorporating an RV garage. Our clients have been loving these houses with many choosing a specific builder because they offer the RV garage option. American will always love their toys and home builders are responding by creating even larger garages so homeowners can more easily store them.
So it is clear to us that we have not reached peak garage. Instead garages will continue to be an important part of home ownership for years to come. Do you agree that garages are here to stay? Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comment section below.