auction parking places boston irs

Who Pays More for a Car-Site Than for a Home Site?
back taxes

Boston Parking Spaces Go For Over Half Million $

Real estate agents, business owners, lawyers, and local residents gathered in the alley behind the spots, clutching numbers on blue cards. A lawyer said the soon-to-be-ex-wife of the man who owned the parking spaces had a legal interest in the spots. This 2013 excerpt is from the Boston Globe, June 13.

by Katie Johnston

It’s just a crumbling strip of asphalt barely big enough to fit two cars one behind the other — lined by weeds, hard against a brick wall, hemmed in by a utility pole.

For this, a crowd gathered for an auction in the rain in one of the most parking unfriendly sections of the city: the Back Bay.

Bidding began at $42,000. It shot up to six figures within seconds. When the auction ended 15 minutes later, the lucky winner agreed to pay $560,000 — nearly double the $313,000 median sales price of a single-family home in Massachusetts.

Another space in the neighborhood set the record for a single spot at $300,000 in 2009.

The Internal Revenue Service seized the spaces from a man who they say had not paid them nearly $600,000 in back taxes. He bought the spaces for $50,000 in 1993.

The winner, Lisa Blumenthal, lives in a single-family home with three parking spots on Commonwealth Avenue valued at more than $5.8 million.

Blumenthal said the auction was a unique opportunity to get more parking places for guests and workers, although she admitted she didn’t expect the bidding to go so high.

To read more

JJS: Said Beth Dickerson of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty: “The demand is not about value. It’s about wanting the parking spot at whatever cost.” Is she right? Isn’t economic value how much someone is willing to pay? And how can they afford it? What can anyone do to have so much money to throw around? And what makes parking spaces so valuable there? It's because they’re in a rich neighborhood in a major city. The value is generated by the presence of society. That being the case, who should get the money spent for any location, whether a car or house is going to be atop it? If society ever does get around to sharing the value of land and nature, it’ll be in a happy situation of being able to do away with most taxes and subsidies, if not all.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Government Stats are Hazy So Let the Market Decide

How doctors can reduce medical errors, lawsuits

Monopoly, the Land Bubble, and the Financial Crisis

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