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Selling of parking spaces streamlined for San Francisco residents

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Even though the housing market remains sluggish in San Francisco, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting wants to make it easier to buy and sell another type of real estate – parking spots.

Ting, also a candidate for mayor, said Wednesday that his office has streamlined the process of selling off-street parking spaces, which were once “bundled” with condominium purchases until a 2008 law eliminated requirements that the condos and parking be linked.

Ting said homeowners who have either bought or sold a parking space can come into the Assessor-Recorder’s Office to fill out paperwork ensuring the transaction and value of the parking space is reflected properly in The City’s records. According to Ting, the average value of a parking spot in Cow Hollow is about $30,000 and up to $90,000 in South Beach, where the average value hovers around $50,000.

The move by Ting’s office is designed to shore up unused parking space and encourage condo owners not own a car just because they have paid for the space.

“We are not requiring anyone not have a car,” Ting said. “But if they so-choose, this is an incentive.”

Tom Radulovich, the executive director of the transit-first advocacy group Livable City, said while the evidence for parking demand in The City remains anecdotal, he has spoken with developers who are seeing less need for it. The assumption that new developments should include one parking place per residential unit is outdated, Radulovich said.

Radulovich also noted that selling an unused parking space could significantly reduce annual property tax payments for homeowners. If homeowners don’t feel obligated to own a car just because they’ve bought a parking space, they are more likely to take public transit, Radulovich said.

“If you make people pay for something, they’ll use it,” Radulovich said.

Ting added that filling unused parking spaces could also reduce the need for street parking and the congestion of drivers who roam busy streets in search of parking, which often slows down Muni buses.

The Assessor-Recorder’s Office allows parking spots to be bought and sold between neighbors who live within 1,200 feet of each other, Ting said. According to the Assessor-Recorder’s Office, hundreds of parking spot transactions have taken place since the unbundling law took effect.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com