Will Driverless Cars Affect Change in Home Values?

June 19, 2018

The era of autonomous vehicles is coming, but what influence could that have on your home? Autonomous vehicles could usher in greater car sharing among families and neighbors. The car drops off a passenger and then goes to pick up another. Since the vehicles are self-driving and will come when called upon, they may not even need to be parked at home and could be parked in a remote lot. Ridesharing services may grow to become a normal option for homeowners.


Autonomous vehicles could make owning a car less important. And without a car, there may not be a need for a garage, writes Justin Thompson, a columnist at Forbes.com.


“A decrease in car ownership/leasing will likely translate to a decrease in the need for garage space,” Thompson notes. “Two-car homes could become one-car homes, rendering the two-car garage obsolete.”


Garageless homes in an era of autonomous vehicles may even potentially increase a person’s home value, Thompson notes. After all, garage square footage is usually not included in the square footage of a residential dwelling. In places where space is at a premium, like in Los Angeles County, Calif., homeowners stand to gain more interior square footage from going garageless, which could increase their home’s value. The current average price per square foot for a residential dwelling in Los Angeles County is $400 to $600. A 100-square-foot rise in the size of the home could boost the home’s price by up to $60,000.


“The impact of an increase of this magnitude on home values would certainly have far-reaching economic effects,” Thompson notes. “Increased living area square footage, a rise in home value, additional property tax revenue, and more revenue from permitting fees is an impressive list of benefits.”


But local governments would need to pave the way for autonomous vehicles, Thompson writes. Once autonomous vehicles are more of a reality to households, local governments would need to modify their existing requirements, allowing unused garage spaces to be more easily converted into livable space in existing homes as well as for new homes being built with less garage space. “That change alone could, in turn, result in an increase in home values and a corresponding increase in property taxes,” Thompson writes.