Would you spend pounds 100,000 for a garage here?

or would you prefer to spend the money on ... Businessman pays record price to park his Rolls
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The Independent Online
It may look like an ordinary place to park a car, but this is the Rolls- Royce of garages. A Swiss businessman has just paid pounds 100,000 - believed to be the highest price ever - for a garage in this central London mews.

By Knightsbridge standards it is a good deal. The garage is on a 28-year lease, which works out at around pounds 3,600 a year. A monthly licence in the nearby NCP car park under Cadogan Square costs pounds 4,000 a year, with no asset to sell on. It will make a fitting home for his soft-top, a Rolls- Royce Corniche, which cost nearly pounds 200,000.

The double garage is marginally bigger than the Knightsbridge broom cupboard, for which a woman paid the extraordinary sum of pounds 36,000 in the late Eighties. The market for cell-sized homes has fallen away, but demand for parking spaces has soared.

Crime is the major factor driving up prices. Not only are people fed up with the vandals who scratch their paintwork and the thieves who steal their radios. They are also scared of being mugged.

In the early Eighties, garages in central London changed hands for around pounds 5,000. Now the going rate is around pounds 40,000 - the same price as a three- bedroom semi in Barnsley in South Yorkshire.

But in Knightsbridge, everything costs a little more. This garage only became available because it was on a separate lease from its adjoining mews house. Its original price was pounds 60,000. Aylesford and Co agreed to buy it on behalf of the businessman, but then a second multi-millionaire made an offer of pounds 100,000. The garage owner said he could not turn down such an offer, so Aylesford's client agreed to match it.

The garage is a short walk from the man's home in Cadogan Square. For some people this would be a walk too far. One family who specified an integral garage recently turned down a pounds 2,000-a-week house with a garage at the end of the garden.

"It was felt too far away to offer the security they wanted," said Laura Levy, lettings manager at Aston Chase.

Wealthy buyers will sometimes insist an agent finds a garage before they proceed with a sale. De Groot Collis recently sold an apartment in Lowndes Square, Knightsbridge, for nearly pounds 2m.

The buyer was offered a discount of pounds 50,000 to compensate for the lack of parking, but turned down the offer, saying a garage had to be part of the deal. The agents found one for pounds 35,000 and the sale went through.

Property Vision, the buying agency, was recently asked to find an underground garage with two exits for a woman moving to London from a large country house. It was not inconvenience or security that worried her: she simply couldn't reverse her Range Rover into a normal-sized parking space.

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