The humble carpark can be worth a small fortune - up to $105,000 including GST in Auckland's CBD. Often, but not always, carparks are sold with apartments or commercial property.
They can really boost the purchase price for buyers who own a car or expect their tenants will.
A two-bedroom apartment in the Aura Apartments will sell for about $380,000 without a carpark, says real estate agent Martin Dunn, of City Sales. An identical apartment with a carpark will sell for approximately $440,000.
The other option for owner-occupiers, says Dunn, is to buy the cheaper apartment, but rent a carpark from another owner who doesn't use it. In the Aura, that would cost about $50 a week.
Dunn has been expecting the differential in price to lower between apartments with carparks and those without.
This hasn't yet happened yet. He notes that if he asks millennials about cars, there is way less interest than there would have been in his generation. More and more city-dwelling millennials choose not to own a car, he says.
They tend to hail taxis around town and don't need one.
There is a market in the city for stand-alone carparks that aren't attached to a particular apartment.
Colliers International agent Roger Seavill calls himself the "Carpark King", having sold more than 100 of them in the past 18 months. Most are in the old Farmers Carpark in Hobson St, Quay West building in Albert St and the Commerce St Car Park.
Seavill has two carparks listed for sale in the Farmers Carpark for $56,000 plus GST for the pair. For that you buy two secure under cover carparks on a freehold title.
There are a range of buyers, says Seavill. Some are nearby apartment owners who don't have a park in their building.
Many well-heeled Waiheke Island residents buy inner-city carparks to keep a car in, says Seavill. There are also investors who buy a handful of carparks and let them.
From an investment perspective, carparks have a yield, just as other forms of property investment do.
And there are costs such as body corporate and rates. In the Farmers Carpark, the last full year's body corporate fee per bay was $350 and the rates for one bay were $960, says Seavill.
The rates charge, however, drops to $330 per bay for the second and subsequent carparks owned by an individual or investor, says Seavill.
As with most other properties in Auckland, prices have increased for carparks and yields reduced.
A carpark that returned a 6 to 8 per cent yield before the GFC now brings in about 4 per cent, says Seavill.
That, however, is still a better return than money in the bank. As a bonus the carpark could rack up capital gain as well.
One benefit for investors is that carpark tenants aren't subject to the Residential Tenancies Act. If they don't pay up, they're out.
Carparks are also reasonably easy to manage and tenants don't tend to call their landlord in the middle of the night complaining of a leaking toilet or roof.
Buyers do need to beware that they are part-owners of a building and if there are expenses, such as watertight repairs, they will need to pay their share of this cost.