To give you an idea of how much of a premium Manhattanites place on parking, consider that a new condo development on the Lower West Side is selling five guaranteed parking spaces for $225,000 apiece. That number is on top of whatever the condos themselves cost. The knee-jerk reaction is, of course, to laugh and dismissively say something like, "Who in their right mind is going to pay that to park their car?"

There are eight people vying for those five spaces.

[Source: The New York Times]

That's just one of the anecdotes told by Vivian S. Toy in this New York Times piece. The hefty charge for parking spaces is not an isolated thing, either. Granted, prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, but as the Times reports, even guaranteed spots in open lots in the outer boroughs can sell for around $50,000 a pop. Some buy the spaces as investments, renting them out to cover the costs. There's a story of one family that bought three spots even though they have one car, because if they have friends or family visiting, it makes life easier. Another woman tells the Times she regrets not ponying up $165,000 for a parking space -- now unavailable -- when she bought her Manhattan condo. And that's her family's secondary residence.

Much of this stems from the fact that there are fewer places to park now than before, as garages are vanishing at rates faster than new ones are erected. It's a bonanza for developers, as the underground areas they turn into parking garages for their condos have the same property value as the above-ground living sections. For obvious reasons, however, parking garages don't cost nearly as much to build, and people are clearly willing to part with big bucks for the convenience and security of not having to street park. Click the "Read" link to check out the article in full, and be happy if you're not paying as much for a parking place as some people do for a house.

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