The garage is dead — long live the garage?

The desire for urban living means that more homes are being built without garages — and more are being built with bigger garages.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Sep 21, 2012 7:38AM

© Noel Hendrickson/Getty ImagesIs America's love affair with the garage over?

 

We're not ready to give back the ring yet, but new census data shows that the number of new single-family homes constructed without garages has risen from 8% in 2005 to 13% in 2011.

 

Living in an urban Florida neighborhood, where most people's garages were turned into efficiency apartments or additional bedrooms decades ago, we might have missed this trend. We already know where you put the band if you don't have a garage: in the living room, because you don’t have a basement, either.

 

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Then again, those of us in Florida are pretty sure we won't have to shovel snow off our car windshields any morning this winter, which we see as one of the main advantages of a garage in snowy climates.

According to a report in USA Today, the decline of the garage is probably attributable to the growing popularity of urban infill homes, many built on small lots with no room for garages — such as the older, urban South Florida neighborhoods where we have been living for decades without ever having a garage for a car.

The new urban homeowners also favor front porches, where they can talk with their neighbors, as well as smaller homes. The percentage of new homes with porches (front or back) has increased from 42% in 1992 to 64% in 2011, according to census data.

 

"The front porch acts as a social mechanism," said Christopher Leinberger, a Philadelphia-area developer who is president of Smart Growth America's LOCUS, which promotes walking over driving, in USA Today. "You sit on the porch and talk to people walking by without having to invite them in. It's outdoor space without taking up too much space."

In 1971, when the Census Bureau started compiling data on parking features of new homes, only 57% of homes built had garages and another 17% had carports. The carport began to decline in 1974; only 1% of homes built since 1996 have had carports.

 

We're pretty sure the garage is not leaving suburbia any time soon. The same report noted that 18% of the new homes built in 2011 had garages big enough for at least three cars — a number that did not appear on the report until 1992. That was  down from a high of 20% of homes with three-car garage built in 2005. Another 62% of homes had two-car garages.

 

Would you give up your garage to live in a smaller home with a front porch in a more urban neighborhood?

 
148Comments
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Most people can't park their cars in the garages they have because they are so full of junk.  Organize that garage and make it useful.  See for tons of organizing ideas.
Jan 6, 2013 8:12AM
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No, I  don't live in a "hood".  I actually live in an upper scale neighborhood and there have been breakins, rapes, assaults, etc. To the person who responded to me and said I must live in a "hood", surely you have enough intelligence to know these animals who commit crimes don't stay only in their own areas.  They go to areas outside their own where they think they can find things to steal and maybe not be recognized.  Seems like those animals are smarter than you.  Don't make such ridiculous comments without knowing a person's life.
Jan 5, 2013 10:59PM
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We bought our home with the garage converted into an addition to the living room. So just off of the living room we have a tv or entertainment room. Love it.
Jan 5, 2013 10:51PM
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Would love to have garage parking for our two cars.  Thanks.
Jan 5, 2013 10:11PM
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Well, Riley Jr., she would, at least, probably know the difference between "dribble", which is something that runs down your chin, and "drivel", which is stupid or careless talk.    As in "You look so stupid and careless when you talk of someone else's dribble when what you really meant was drivel."
Jan 5, 2013 9:17PM
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Someone actually paid this woman to write this dribble??
Jan 5, 2013 9:03PM
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A different perspective: many businesses are started in the garage. 
Jan 5, 2013 8:55PM
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I've lived mostly in suburban California cities, and have found that many residents are displacing cars from their garages with junk/storage boxes.  I even saw one house with a BMW 6 series convertible ($80K+) parked on the driveway because there was no space in the 2 car garage!
Jan 5, 2013 8:48PM
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We have a double car garage and if I built another house I would have a three-car garage.  Even with the cars in the garage there is a lot of wall space that can be used for shelves, etc..
Jan 5, 2013 8:45PM
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I have a convertible (Pontiac Solstice).  I bought a house just so I'd have a garage in which to park my car.
Jan 5, 2013 8:06PM
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We live in the midwest and we have a two car garage. I cannot imagine not having a garage in this climate.
Jan 5, 2013 7:36PM
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Garages would be more useful if the minimum size was 24' x 24' inside dimension. 10' wide doors minimum would also help. Builders need to quit being cheap.
Jan 5, 2013 7:34PM
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Not for us, we live In Colorado.  Our garage is essential.  It's like a big mud room!

Jan 5, 2013 7:30PM
Jan 5, 2013 7:28PM
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We have a two car garage now, but in our next place, we will build a carport or have one built.
Jan 5, 2013 6:07PM
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No, we just had to build more garage - 2 wasn't enough.
Jan 5, 2013 6:01PM
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If you lived in Iowa you would not have written this.  In the Midwest a house without the garage is just a shed.  
Jan 5, 2013 5:57PM
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I live in Florida and have a garage, a front porch and a back porch.  I wouldn't trade any of those.  Actually, it's why we bought the house.

Jan 5, 2013 5:08PM
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The same survey that found an increased number of porches also found a similar increase in the number of porch monkeys.
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