Real Estate

Where Parking Costs the Most and the Least

Anyone looking at property listings in a big city knows that the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is closely followed by another bit of essential information: how many parking spaces are included.

In cities where apartment buildings and rowhouses are plentiful, but garages aren’t, street parking can be particularly painful. A study by FINN, an auto subscription company, broke down parking costs in the 38 largest U.S. cities (which were found to have adequate data for comparison). The study referenced SpotHero, a parking app, to find the least expensive monthly parking rate in each city’s most central area.

The city with the cheapest monthly parking spots was Tulsa, Okla., where the rate started at just $22. The most expensive city — by a wide margin — was New York, where spots started at about $444 a month. That’s 20 months of parking in Tulsa.

Those brave New Yorkers who park on the street know they have to move their car at least once a week or risk a ticket. But it’s often a risk worth taking. In the city, parking violations do not add points to one’s driver’s license, so as long as you pay the fines, you’re in the clear. With parking violations ranging from $65 to $180, and a run-of-the-mill ticket at $115, three tickets a month could add up to about $345 — much cheaper than paying for a spot. (If you’re towed, however, it will cost you another $100 to $200 to get your car back.)

Buying a spot is also an option. But in New York they’ve been known to cost up to $1 million. Let’s set the price, hypothetically, at $100,000. Mortgaging even that amount at today’s rates would cost about $680 a month over 30 years.

This week’s chart, based on the findings in the FINN study, lists the most and least expensive cities for parking. If your city is among the most expensive, there’s always the bus.

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