s visitors descend on Wimbledon in south-west London, homeowners on nearby streets can make thousands of pounds in a fortnight, cashing in on an asset that is rapidly becoming one of London’s hottest property types — their parking spaces.
“Everyone here in Wimbledon does it,” says Aliya Aralbayeva, who rents out two, or sometimes all three, of the parking spaces at her house.
Aralbayeva moved to the area in 2012 and noticed neighbours standing outside with £25 parking signs during the tournament. “The next day, I was standing outside with a sign, trying to lure drivers onto our drive…I had three or four customers.”
Aralbayeva has been using YourParkingSpace during Wimbledon since 2017, moving her own cars to friends’ houses to let out more space. Now, her spaces are fully booked for the two-week tournament from March or April onwards, when tickets are allocated.
This year, she is renting out two spaces and has 28 bookings throughout Wimbledon. She charges £40 per space, making between £1,400 and £1,600 each year.
Along with some of her neighbours, Aralbayeva puts her earnings towards Medical Life Lines Ukraine, the charity she runs which sends ambulances and medical equipment to Ukraine. “I consider it a drop in an ocean with what’s been happening in Ukraine, but it does make a difference.”
For Aralbayeva, who lives with her husband, mother-in-law and three children, joining in with the excitement of Wimbledon is also part of the appeal. Some guests have parked on her drive for multiple years.
One year, two women who had secured Wimbledon tickets after several years of trying were delighted to see Novak Djokovic walking down Aralbayeva’s street. “She couldn’t believe her luck…We have very happy visitors.”
London’s priciest parking spots
In 2021, a parking space listed for sale for £750,000 made headlines, being three times the national average house price at the time. Last year, a cramped space in Knightsbridge was advertised for £85,000 — substantially less, but barely big enough to fit a car. It was reduced to £50,000 earlier this year.
These prices are not anomalies. A gradual reduction of parking spaces in London, combined with high demand, mean that parking spaces have become prime real estate.
“There’s a huge premium on parking, and it’s getting worse and worse, even though more people are using public transport,” says Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves. “There’s a massive shortage of supply.”
London’s on-street parking takes up over 14 square kilometres, equivalent to 10 Hyde Parks, according to the Centre for London, while recent census data shows that 58 per cent of Londoners have a car.
In a bid to bring car usage down further, reduce vehicle emissions and use public space more efficiently, London’s boroughs are under pressure to cut their parking spaces.
Earlier this year Lambeth Council announced ambitious plans to slash 25 per cent of its kerbside parking —an area the size of 194 football pitches— to help meet its 2030 climate targets.
Nevertheless, there are still over 2.6 million cars in London — which are becoming increasingly expensive to park. Von Grundherr has seen some spaces go up by almost 50 per cent in value in the last five years — a figure he expects to rise.
Buying a parking space can cost anywhere between £25,000 and £250,000 depending on location, says von Grundherr. Last year, he sold a double garage in north London for £1.65 million, with planning permission to build a house in the space.
This, however, is rare: most buyers intend to use their spaces for cars. “That’s up there with the highest value for garages ever,” he says. “It’s mad.”
In prime central London, Patrick Alvarado, director of Nicolas van Patrick, says that £80,000 represents the lower end of the market, while top-end spaces in blocks like One Hyde Park will go for around £250,000. He too has seen the upper limit stretched.
In 2016, Alvarado sold a 150-space underground carpark to a Middle Eastern royal for £21 million in the largest parking-related transaction recorded in the UK.
Located in Kingston House North in Knightsbridge, the spaces had a chauffeur lounge and power wash and had initially been advertised separately.
“Most of the family were located in Knightsbridge, so they bought the whole lot,” says Alvarado.
“This is just one of the parking lock-ups they own. They own another south of the river so that when they fly in, they can take a helicopter to Battersea Heliport and have their cars detailed and ready, with chauffeurs to pick them up and bring them here.”
A parking space currently listed for £50,000 at Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge — despite barely being big enough for a car
/ Nicholas van Patrick/Rightmove
Parking spaces, whether they’re needed or not, add significant value to a property. This is difficult to quantify, says Alvarado, but, in his experience, is worth as much per square foot as the value of the property.
“My view is that parking is a very, very wise investment — for homeowners as well as for renters,” says von Grundherr. “By selling without a parking space you are limiting your resale market quite considerably, even with ULEZ and the congestion charge in place. If people need a parking space, they’re going to pay for it, whatever the weather.”
Renting out your parking space
It is no wonder, then, that so many people are cashing in on their unused parking spaces. Both Alvarado and von Grundherr help clients to sell them off separately, or to rent them out.
Usually, tenants are individuals looking for long-term lets — often owner-occupiers in the same building, without a parking space of their own.
Rental prices range from around £150pcm in Zone 5 to up to £1,800pcm for a Knightsbridge development, says von Grundherr. In Alvarado’s experience, rents in prime central London average between £5,000 and £8,000 per year.
As well as location, the most desirable parking spaces are as close as possible to the tenant or buyer’s home, with CCTV, security and gates. But, as von Grundherr puts it: “When people are desperate, they wouldn’t care if it was in a mud field.”
People do get desperate. When one of von Grundherr’s clients was told after 10 years that he could no longer rent his parking space —belonging to a flat in Marble Arch and rented out separately— he decided to rent the flat too. His costs increased from £100 per week to £500 per week.
“When we renewed it recently, I asked how often he’d slept there. He said: ‘You don’t want to hear. We haven’t even stayed there five nights this year.’”
Another client, an ultra-high net worth individual from the Middle East, went a step further. He owned a three-bedroom flat in a “well-known building” in Mayfair with two parking spaces, but he had six cars.
The solution? To buy three additional one-bedroom flats in the same building, purely to access their parking spaces. “When you’re at that level, money is not an object,” says von Grundherr, who rented the flats out for him. “It doesn’t make sense, but it’s a reality.”
Fenton House has listed four parking spaces for rent for £564pcm each/ Rightmove
It is not only prime property owners who profit from their spaces. With the rising cost of living, more Londoners than ever are renting theirs out. For the first time, Fenton House, a National Trust property in Hampstead, listed four of its parking spaces for rent in June, each at a cost of £564pcm.
With the spaces underused and the house’s operating costs increasing, a spokesperson said it was an “ideal opportunity” to raise additional funding.
They added: “As well as supporting the on-going costs of running the house, the fees also support our vital conservation work, with every penny helping us to protect and maintain this special place for generations to come.”
So far, the parking spaces have not yet been let, but the house hopes to fill them soon.
Hery-Christian Henry, an entrepreneur, also views his parking space as an opportunity. “When you find ways to make your home make money for you, it turns into an asset,” he says. “That’s exactly what we’ve done since we bought our home in 2020.”
Henry, who lives in Royal Greenwich with his partner and two children, rents out his street-level, covered parking space while he is away for work. Henry travels regularly — a couple of weeks out of each month— taking his car or parking it at the airport. He’ll charge £5 to £10 per day for his own parking space, which he lists on YourParkingSpace.
According to YourParkingSpace, one of a number of apps that allows people to list their parking space for rent, London’s users are growing. There are 27,828 parking spaces in the capital listed to date — an increase of 11 per cent since January this year.
Users have also risen by 30 per cent since the beginning of the year, while demand for spaces in the summer typically doubles with tourists coming to the city.
Alongside Wimbledon, specific locations, not necessarily in central London, are also in high demand. Last year, parking spaces close to airports in Greater London brought in a collective total of £293,000, with parking space owners near Luton and Stanstead having the potential to earn £3,015 per year.