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 4:22PM
I wouldn't want to give up my garage. We get enough rain & snow in the midwest to warrant having the convenience of a garage.
Jan 5, 2013 4:12PM

This is a typical story trying to twist facts to help the author show his/her point of view.  You attribute the rise in homes without a garage to small homes built on lots too small for them.  So that doesn't really mean anything without the data to show how many already built homes with garages are for sale.


You also use a rise in percentage for porches while pushing that the front porch is popular.  But the data includes back porches as well.  If you can't separate it, numbers don't mean much to your point.


Also, your reasoning for not having a garage doesn't hold up well.  People use them for storage, to keep their cars away from the elements in general, and sometimes for parties after pulling their cars out.


In answer to your question, no.  Most people wouldn't.

Jan 5, 2013 4:10PM
There's no such thing as a garage that's too big.
Jan 5, 2013 3:55PM
Like most of you were saying, the garage is a sanctuary. And when the mood is right, and the tools are put away, turn on the DLP projector and pull down the screen above your tool station, dim the lights and watch a film.
Jan 5, 2013 3:51PM
My friends was making fun of me when I got my house . They said it was a garage with a house attached to it (900 sf garage and 1000 sf house ) and I was single at the time. Still live in it and wants a bigger garage
  I say keep the garage. If its nice and in good shape you can use your garage to have parties when you need more space. Just set up some folding tables. My brother did this once for a large family get together. Keeps the rest of the house  clean and everybody in one room.
Jan 5, 2013 2:30PM
As a car person, when I bought my house last Feb I went looking for an appropriately sized garage;  the amenities offered by the attached house were secondary.
Jan 5, 2013 2:22PM

Where else would one persue small shop projects?  Or large ones, for that matter? 


Jan 5, 2013 2:13PM
A porch is not a necessity nor good for comfort.  Who wants to fight off mosquitoes or thugs??  Beiing at home is not for hanging over the porch rail talking to neighbors.
Jan 5, 2013 2:11PM
A house without a garage is an open invitation to someone gunning you down when you get into your car or get home.  Also, the weather, hot or cold, is certainly not good for the paint on a car.  Also very uncomfortable to get into a hot or cold car. I vote to keep the garages.  They are also great for storage.
Jan 5, 2013 1:55PM
If I were having a new house built I probably would not have either a porch or a garage.  Given the cost of new construction I doubt you could justify either.
Jan 5, 2013 1:55PM
I'm indifferent to garages, but the porch for talking would really annoy me.  If I'm at home, I don't want to socialize.  Neighbors who stand with their noses over the fence and want to talk for hours generally get told where to go.  A nice peaceful morning on the porch with coffee and the newspaper is great, but if someone wants to chit chat, I just get up and go inside.
I'd rather have a nicely organized, heated storage shed with a clean work space.  My old Jeep is nothing special, contains nothing valuable, and is already weather-beaten, so putting it in a garage would be like giving a pig a pedicure.  
Jan 5, 2013 1:42PM
Must be desperate for a story.  Garages are going nowhere so long as nighttime thugs and snow exist.
Jan 5, 2013 1:35PM
Lived in North houses had attic Space plus basements. I moved to Fl have two car need a three bay for storage.
Jan 5, 2013 1:29PM
Anywhere that gets over 80 degrees or under 40 degrees needs a garage.  Otherwise, getting into your car after it has been sitting out is very uncomfortable.  Garages are an expense like anything else, so the stats quoted for this article haven't any worth.
Jan 5, 2013 1:23PM
I live in an apartment complex and we have garages at an added cost of $100.00 per month on top of $1,000.00 rent. Not worth it to most of us. 
I would never buy a house without a garage, it's an idiotic idea. What are you supposed to do to keep your car safe from thugs and weather? Not to mention all the storage space.
Jan 5, 2013 12:56PM
I wouldn't even consider a house without a garage. My vehicles are my second most valuable material possessions.
Jan 5, 2013 12:52PM
This isn't Florida and we still USE our garages for their intended purpose! 
Jan 5, 2013 12:52PM
NO! Wouldn't give up my garage for anything.
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