10/02/2012 01:20 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

Parking rates rise with Calgary leading Canadian cities

Here's more fuel to add to the argument for ditching the car and using public transit or pedal power.

A survey released Tuesday has found the average cost of a monthly unreserved parking spot increased in June compared with the same month in 2011. Calgary led Canadian cities ($456.75 Cdn or $439.93 US, based on the exchange rate in June) and ranked second in North America behind New York City ($562 US in midtown and $533 downtown).

The average cost in Canada rose 2.7 per cent over the past year, from $235.33 Cdn in 2011 to $241.72 this year, according to the survey, based on information collected in June by the commercial real estate firm Colliers International.

"Improving economic conditions, a strong office market and limited future supply of new parking spots are all contributing to the continued increase of parking rates in all categories and across the country," says Ian MacCulloch, National Research Director with Colliers International in Canada, in a news release.

"Currently, only Calgary, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Waterloo Region and Winnipeg are expecting to add new parking spots over the next year and in limited numbers. This shortage of new supply will continue to put upward pressure on parking rates."

Wait list up to 2 years

For the second year in a row, Calgary is the most expensive city to park in Canada, but the rate increase was only two per cent — much lower than other cities, concludes the 12th annual survey.

The rate rose more quickly in Montreal (11.7 per cent to $330.96), Regina (8.3 per cent to $182.50) and Edmonton (7.3 per cent to $295) over 2011.

On the other hand, parking rates actually dropped in Toronto (down 4.8 per cent to $316.40) and Vancouver (a drop of 3.5 per cent to $277.82).

The survey also notes average time to wait for a parking lot spot in Canada is just under eight months. Motorists in Victoria, Halifax and Regina wait the longest, between 12 and 24 months.

Data for the 2012 survey were collected in June, include relevant taxes, and focus on covered or underground parking lots in prime central business districts. Adding to the information by Colliers was data from third parties, and parking lot owners and operators.