In an increasingly mobile society, our automobiles are as important as horses were a century ago. Horse thieves were shot or hung, and we don’t feel much differently about our horsepower. That is why we go to so much trouble and expense to house our cars in garages, which are quickly becoming the number one home amenity.
The work revolution of the seventies changed more than our nation’s economic picture, it also changed the way we live in our homes and influenced how homes are designed. When women went to work in record numbers, numbering more than 56% of the work force today, the two income family became the norm, and along with that, the two-car garage.
Double buying power has contributed to the affluent economy we are enjoying today, which is raising the prominence of the garage even more. Once considered a luxury, the garage is now considered one of the most important assets on a property. Although a two-car garage can be built for approximately $10,000, it can be worth as much as double on the right property. Add a electronic door opener and you’ve got an asset that pays for itself.
Three-car garages are becoming increasingly popular. When you drive through new suburbs, take note of the massive garages that are now being offered with new properties. The larger homes of four and five bedrooms often come equipped with three car garages.
According to a recent article, one garage company owner, Perry Smith is building more and more garages of 24 by 24 square feet, up from the 20 by 20 garages of just a few years ago.
He was quoted as saying, “The reason for that is you’ve got two-car families for sure. But you’ve also got the lawn tractor, the snowmobile, the bicycles the odd who-knows-what-else, and these things need to be in a building and 20-by-20 doesn’t cut it anymore.”
Smith estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business is garage replacement, 10 percent is commercial and the rest is in new construction, including some condominium developments.
But the industry sites other reasons besides large homeowners wanting large impressive garages. One issue is the inefficiency of mass transit in many cities. Another issue is security and convenience. Also, as the economy improves, people will spend their disposable income and collect more items that ultimately end up in the attic or garage. Some families use the garage as a hobby center.
The apartment industry reports that apartment dwellers, particularly, will pay extra for shelter for their cars.
According to Smith, many homeowners want garages built because they think it is impossible to sell their home without one. ” When you consider the garage, in addition to being a shelter for our automobiles, has become a shelter for our stuff — gas grills, bikes, storage of wood for fireplaces — it makes sense. Today, generally, you’ve got two people working on a daily basis so you see more and more people with two-car families. And as kids age, you see households with four or five cars in the family.”
Nonetheless, a garage is a personal investment. It might be better to examine the market before deciding to spend a large amount of money to sell a home. “When you build a garage, you can figure on getting 80% of the value back, but after five years, the value is going to continue to appreciate.”