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?

Jan 5, 2013 12:50PM

No, my garage is my sanctuary. It is where I keep my spare refrigerator for my beer and fish bait.

Jan 5, 2013 12:44PM

Because people illegally convert garages to living spaces does not magically convert illegally and dangerous living space to modern living space unless one is capable of acting wiht impunty against modern zoning ordinances. This concept has been in place in Southern California with illegal aliens being housed in bunk beds 5 to 6 tall in converted garages in 'sanctuary' cities, but permitting these activities does not transform the unhealthful and dangerous conditions. Recently single family dwellings are converted to 'motels' that charge Red Chinese $15,000 per month and are supported by illegal alien services that contest immigration laws, but are operated with impunity to mere zoning/health laws.

The question to ask actually is 'Would you give up zoning health laws for illegal alien smugglers' profit margins?'

Jan 5, 2013 12:40PM
No, I love my garage, I would hate to have to clean the snow and ice off my car,  I consider it the best addition to are home.
Jan 5, 2013 12:27PM
hey  dummy  when poeple have to make  cuts  a  carport  ,we can  do with  out 11111111111111111111111   unike our gov. that does not know how  to make  cut !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 5, 2013 12:25PM

Started in an apartment.  Caught an SOB breaking into cars that were in the parking lot.  Moved into a rental with a garage.  Made it possible to actually fix my car if the weather turned to crap.  Now, we bought our first home a couple years ago, and the 2-car garage was a must.  The large side yard was a bonus, as I needed a lace to park my custom built semi truck.  The vehicles park in the driveway, except when I need to work on them.  The garage houses the thousands of dollars in tools, and equipment I use almost daily to build/fabricate, repair, or otherwise make use of things that would typically get tossed out by people with no imagination.  It also now houses the 11'x5' N-Scale model railroad I am building to enjoy with my three kids, and eventually grand kids.  It will stay there, until the 32' 5th wheel trailer is done, to house the train, then the garage will be my shop again. 

Jan 5, 2013 12:19PM
Nope. Already got a small home in an urban neighborhood. The garage, at least is modern & nicely detached, so, that is cool. The house? Well, we bought it for the garage and the dry basement. It would look much better with a front porch on it, come to think of it...hmmmmmm....
Jan 5, 2013 12:17PM
The world doesn't revolve around Florida.  All the new houses we look at have at least a 3 car garage, and many have 4 or more.  I could do with a 2 bedroom houseand a 6 car garage much better.
Jan 5, 2013 12:09PM

I finally built my 24' X 36' with 10' ceiling garage a few years ago. It is the best thing I could have done to my property.

It is 2 X 6 construction and fully insulated and have heat when needed. holds 2 cars and 3  motorcycles A refrigerator and upright freezer. A High end Hifi system and LCD TV mounted on wall. 2 large storage cabinets and 3 upright storage shelves. It also has 2 foot deep storage shelves 7 feet off the floor around the parameter of the garage with the exception of where the 18 foot wide garage door is located.

I could not imagine being with out a garage now. I also have a garden shed and a tool shed where I stored all I could before the garage.

Life is much better with a garage.

Once you have on you will never want to be without. 

Jan 5, 2013 12:03PM
a house wihout a garage is a waste. They keep your car safe from weather, thieves, and sun damage. My auto insurance is cheaper because my car is garaged.
Jan 5, 2013 11:49AM

Lived with out a garage for most of my life and always wished i had one. now at 49 i do i rent and found o home with a single detacthed garage and now i am very happy. only draw back is i have a jeep commander and getting into it is a chour sometimes due to the garage being kinda small but i ge in and have room on the driver side to move around really good and a work bench that i can access with the jeep in in but no room in the rear or the front and i am very HAPPY to have itand would not want to due with out one againholds my lawn mower,snow blower and many other things almost perfect for me...


Jan 5, 2013 11:47AM

'Built a garage after a cat incident.  Evil cat came into my carport night after night with muddy paws and dirtied up the entire car.  After getting tired of washing the car 57 times (It was a NEW $38,000 car), I got a car cover.  Cat slept on top of the cover anyway to stay warm at night.  Owners were jerks and kept it outdoors day and night, never paid attention to it.   Allergic to cats, I started having sneezing fits whenever it had to be removed.   Gave up for awhile, put a blanket on the hood with anti-cat spray, it raged on me, pulled the blanket off, CLAWED the paint on the car hood.  I was lucky it didn't urinate down the AC vent.


Enclosed the carport, added value to my house, no more human-hating cats bothered me.  The bad neighbors moved out of the house because of mold, the cat took off for good, thinking it was abandoned.  I can't wait to see the comments admonishing the owners and defending this neglected animal, it was an unneutered male by the way.  Some cats are nice people, not this one!

Jan 5, 2013 11:41AM
I am certainly on the garage-having bandwagon with 3 cars, 4 motorcycles, and 8 bicycles, however, having a garage just so you don't get wet getting out of the car or for snow (in the Midwest) or security reasons seems silly to me. I have a two car garage but its a metal working/ repair workshop. The cars,... all three of them, are outside and I don't feel like there is any security hazard. If I felt like that, I'd move.

I also rent a large gated storage garage for $60 a month which is a bargain for the storage crap. When I decide to get rid of a bunch of this junk, I'm not left paying 30 years of interest and insurance for wasted space. Financially, its a no-brainer.

Jan 5, 2013 11:35AM

The reason for  the 13% that don't want a garage is, they can't afford a CAR! 

Jan 5, 2013 11:20AM
I hav enow a 3500 sq ft house a extra deep three car garage. I want a 900 sq ft house and a 12 car garage.
Jan 5, 2013 10:57AM
A garage is an absolute must, and we in the Northern climates need them for our driving investments. Anymore, people junk up their garages so much they have to park their cars outside all the time. Not to mention the ones who stupidly build a decent home with no basement to cut costs, so all their junk goes in the garage also.......
We have a 1 car garage, as our house was built in 1958. Having a 2 car garage wasn't/isn't an option as the lot width will not accommodate. My preference w/b a 2 car for my wires and my cars, as we live in a college town and I had my SUV side-swiped in the middle of night by a hit and run driver. With homes rented to groups of college kids, they likely caused the problem. Only two houses are rented for this purpose, but neighbors have reported at least two disturbances in the last year. We accept the risk, for now, as we live in a high-end neighborhood with mountain views and predominately upper class retirees. Also, despite the restricted lot width, our lot is 1/3 acre and it is like living in the country(privacy) but we are within walking distance to town. We will live with 1 car garage due to the positive offsets.
Jan 5, 2013 10:48AM
 The garage is far from dead MSN is full of beans again. I'd never build or live in a house without a garage. I have a 2 car attached and a 2 car garden shed and both are crowded. My neighbor is a contractor and every house he builds has at least a 2 car garage We live in the south, yankees have even more junk than we do with their snow removal equipment, my sister lives in Maine there's no way they'd leave their cars outside in winter as a matter of fact their garage has heat not a lot but enough to stay above freezing.
Jan 5, 2013 10:19AM

My wife and I recently moved into our current home.  When looking

for a home, a 2-car garage was an absolute MUST.  We keep both

our cars inside and still have room for miscellaneous.  Why should

I keep 2 cars worth approximately $20K-$25K outside and fill my

garage with $500 worth of crap.

Jan 5, 2013 10:19AM
Bull. The garage is on the top of must have's by house hunters. It's been number one for 45 years.
Jan 5, 2013 10:08AM
The article says 87 pct of homes have a garage, the real trend is still to have a garage. Whoever follows minimalist trends is doomed to be penalized for them. In this case lower resale value. The only reason you would build a home without a garage is that you can't afford one, and thus it is a starter home. This is not a "trend", but rather a temporary bump in the road.
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