Look. We Americans really, really, really like our garage space.
A new report by the National Association of Home Builders on the government’s Census Bureau Survey of Construction got picked up by Bloomberg this morning, noting that our rate of construction on new homes with three-car garages is greater than our rate of construction for one-bedroom apartments.
That’s only the most dramatic statistic from the government report. The majority of new homes have garage space for two cars, at 61 percent. A mere six percent of new homes have single-car garages, one percent of new homes come with a carport, and only nine percent of new homes have no garage or carport at all.
We’re doing better, at least, than we were in 2005. That year we built 331,000 new homes with three car garages (or bigger) and we only managed 154,000 last year in 2015, though we’re currently on an upswing.
Much as we are constantly inundated with news about how much people love Uber, or how many Millennials are moving into pre-fab single room micro-homes with foldable sleep pods and no-bathroom waste tubes, America is still set up for cars.
It’s not just old people’s fault, as Bloomberg explains, citing a recent survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting:
“One of the interesting things we’re finding is that between Uber and public transport, a lot of millennials are deciding they don’t need a car, so parking becomes a less-important issue,” said Pete Reeb, a principal at the consultancy. “But we’re also seeing more multi-generational housing, where the kids are taking care of elderly parents or you have the new grad moving home after college, and now you have four cars where it might have been two before.”
So everyone who doesn’t want a car is too broke to get a new house, and everyone who has enough money to get a house also wants room for a bunch of cars.
When driverless cars take over and erase the concept of a privately-owned car, what are we going to do with all of this garage space?