Will Garages Become Extinct?

October 23, 2018

The technology to power driverless vehicles is already here, and greater tests of autonomous vehicles are already hitting the roadways. And as autonomous vehicles are spread around and the popularity of car-share programs rise, housing analysts are already calling on the death of the garage in residential homes.

Garages extinction

© Eric Audras - ONOKY

Babcock Ranch, located north of Fort Myers, Fla., is a sustainable, tech-enabled master-planned community development that is already showing off driverless cars in pilot programs. Students living in the community can catch a ride to their elementary school on an autonomous shuttle.

Autonomous vehicles are “going to transform the way we think about the design of communities of the future,” says Syd Kitson, a developer with Babcock Ranch. “When you think about how we’re one day going to be able to eliminate parking garages, parking areas, and garages in homes, you need to think through how all of that works together.”

Two-car garages dominate homes today. In 2017, 65 percent of new single-family homes completed had a two-car garage, and another 20 percent of homes had a garage large enough for three or more cars, according to data from the National Association of Home Builders. Only 6 percent of newly built homes had a one-car garage.

By 2030, housing analysts predict the garage may become less of a fixture on residential properties. Some builders are already testing that idea—for example, national builder KB Homes has partnered with Hanley Wood’s BUILDER Magazine on the KB Home ProjeKt, which forecasts a post-garage future.

The three-car garage—which was once a sign of homeowner wealth—could soon become a rarity. Instead, the need would be replaced by on-demand travel apps such as Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing options, KB Home predicts.

KB Homes also predicts in its project that if you subtract garages from each property that gives a lot more space back to homeowners. For example, the removal of garages from each property and a parcel could then allow for a 31 percent increase in home sites.

Builders also say the removal of garages could add more open spaces to communities, and could even help bring down the costs of homes. A two-car garage can add $25,000 to $30,000 to the cost of a new home.