Self-storage industry: On a need or want basis?


Being minimalist oriented, I must admit that I never understood the logic of the self-storage industry until I began to pay more attention to how my friends and family — myself partially included — treated their personal belongings.

A study done by the Self-Storage Association has revealed not only that 65 percent of all storage renters have a garage, but also that 47 and 33 percent of them have an attic and a basement respectively. In addition, almost half the renters in the United States have below-average household incomes.

The self-storage companies say that you must have storage if you:

  • are moving out and need an intermediary place for your possessions
  • are a member of the military who is being deployed overseas for at least six months
  • have things that require a climate-controlled environment
  • feel that your possessions will be safer in a nearby facility.

On the other hand, you can argue that you don’t want to throw your things away or sell them. You are not the kind to let things go so easily. Whoever has never personally struggled to get rid of that beloved sofa, kayak or model fighter aircraft collection (or in my case, the books, which are part of my self-esteem), let her/him cast the first stone. Raise your hand if you don’t know at least one person from your circle of friends who is a “hoarder at heart.” After all, for every year you pay in storage rentals, you could buy the stored stuff again and again and it would be new.

Whether you are motivated by need or want, the self-storage industry has been one of the most rapidly-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry for about forty years.

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Below are some other insightful facts extracted from the Self-Storage Association’s website.

  • The top-5 self storage companies, including 4 real estate investment trusts (Public Storage, Extra Space, Sovran and CubeSmart) plus U-Haul (a public company / non-REIT), own, operate and/or manage some 5,600 self storage facilities, or about 11.5% of all US facilities.  Several public companies are now offering third-party management of facilities owned by other investors.  Hundreds of facilities are now being managed by the three public companies that have moved into this service area.
  • There is a total U.S. self storage space capacity of about 21 sq. ft. per American household.
  • About 13% of all self storage renters say they will rent for less than 3 months; 18% for 3-6 months; 18% for 7-12 months; 22% for 1-2 years; and 30% for more than 2 years.

Written by Heli Brecailo Disclaimer This newsletter is not engaged in rendering tax, accounting, or other professional advice through this publication. No statement in this issue is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or other investment. Please do your own due diligence before making any investment decision. Some information presented in this publication has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable. Sources are not required to make representations as to the accuracy of the information, however, and consequently the publisher cannot guarantee accuracy. Disclosure The author has no positions in any shares mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.​