There has recently been a survey of insurance claims resulting from damage to cars in car parks, the result of which is that the insurance industry has seen a substantial increase over the last ten years. The cause? Apart from careless and possibly impatient driving, the principal reason seems to be that cars have got bigger. The vogue for ever larger cars and SUVs has meant that that the older car parking spaces are now simply too small, resulting in dinks to car doors and scrapes to wings.
Older garages, too, are becoming less of an attractive proposition as their width restricts even the slimmest of us struggling to squeeze out of the car door – that is if you want to keep your car in a garage at all. Let’s face it, unless you have a prized classic car that needs to be locked up for insurance purposes or under cover to keep it in shape, are you likely to need a garage for keeping a car in? At this point I should apologise to those of you who do indeed store your car away from the elements, since I know that some do, but the majority of people these days are happy to park in the open.
So how valuable is it to have a garage at all? They are useful for all sorts of things; storage being the principal benefit, of bikes (motor and peddle), boats, gardening equipment, outside furniture and more. But they are also an escape, somewhere to tinker, somewhere to think. The Americanism ‘man-cave’ may have gender overtones, and when viewing a house it is normally the husband who is the most keen on the outbuildings, but the truth is that we all need that that getaway and a garage or other decent outbuilding is therefore an essential requirement for many.
The properties that we sell do invariably have a garage or accessible shack of some size, and they are held back in value if they don’t. Alternatively, most of the country houses and some of the village properties that we market will have space within the grounds to build a garage or car port and many heritage designs are very attractive, with plenty of space and often a first floor room for an office or hobbies. They come at a cost, but add a further dimension to a property and will generally see a good return.