Self-storage investing is lucrative in any economy with opportunities in almost any location across the U.S.


Self Storage Investment Facts (as of 11/22/2013)

Self Storage is a Growing Industry

  • The self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 38 years.
  • There are now over 48,500 “primary” self storage facilities in the United States as of year end 2013; another 4,000 are “secondary” facilities (“primary” means that self storage is the “primary” source of business revenue – US Census Bureau),
  • There are approximately 59,500 self storage facilities worldwide as of Q4 – 2013; there are more than 3,000 in Canada and more than 1,000 in Australia.
  • Total self storage rentable space in the US is now 2.3 billion square feet (as of Q4-2013) [approximately 210 million square meters]. That figure represents more than 78 square miles of rentable self storage space, under roof – or an area well more than 3 times the size of Manhattan Island (NY).
  • U.S. self storage facilities pay a total of more than $3.25 billion in property taxes to local government jurisdictions.
  • The distribution of U.S. self storage facilities (Q4-2013) is as follows: 32% urban, 52% suburban and 16% rural
  • The average revenue per square foot varies from facility to facility; however, here are the data for Q1 2013: $1.12 PSF for non-climate controlled and $1.42 PSF for climate controlled space.
  • Occupancy rates for self storage facilities as of Q3 2013 were 87.4% (percentage of units rented per facility) up from 83.6% at year-end 2012.
  • The asking rent for a 10’x10′ unit in the U.S. (Q3-2013) was: non-climate controlled $115/month; climate-controlled $146/month.
  • In fact, 8.96% of all American households currently rent a self storage unit (10.85 million of the 113.3 million US HHs in 2012; that has increased from 1 in 17 US HHs (6%) in 1995 (18 years ago).
  • Nationally, at Q4 2013 all U.S. self storage facilities employed more than 172,000 persons, or an average of 3.5 employees per facility.
  • The average (mean) size of a “primary” self storage facility in the US is approximately 46,500 square feet
  • 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 5,800 self storage facilities, or about 11.9% 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.
  • In addition to the public companies in the industry (above), there are more than 110 privately-held firms that own and operate 10 ore more self storage facilities. In addition there are som 2,450 firms that own and operate from 2-9 self storage facilities. Lastly, there are approximately 30,800 firms that own and operate just one facility.

Who Rents Self Storage Units

  • There is a total U.S. self storage space capacity of about 21 sq.ft. per American household.
  • There is 7.3 sq.ft. of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand – all at the same time – under the total canopy of self storage roofing.
  • 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
  • Some 68% of all self storage renters live in a single family household; 27% live in an apartment or condo
  • Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.
  • Some 47% of all self storage renters have an annual household income of less than $50,000 per year; 63% have an annual household income of less than $75,000 per year
  • •More than 1.5 million self storage units nationwide are rented to military personnel (6% of all units); however, in communities adjacent to domestic US military bases, military occupancy can be from 20% to 95% of all rented units.
  • SSA members value military personnel as self storage customers and traditionally extend special incentives and discounts to those with a valid military ID card, such as: 10%-30% discounts off rental rates, free months of rent, gift certificates, free use of moving truck, “one-dollar move-ins,” no rent increases while deployed overseas, waiver of security deposits, administration fees, etc.

Overwhelming Opportunities for Investors

  • It took the self storage industry more than 25 years to build its first billion square feet of space; it added the second billion square feet in just 8 years (1998-2005).
  • 83.9% of all US counties (or 2,634 out of 3,141) have at least one “primary” self storage facility.
  • (And here’s a stat that SSA is rightly proud of) – 95.4 percent of current SSA direct members say YES! They would recommend SSA membership to other self storage owner-operators. (There’s still room for improvement, though.

SSA Sources:

  • Quarterly SSA surveys of member and non-member companies conducted by Conquest Communications of Richmond, VA
  •  “Self Storage Demand Study” – © 2013 Edition (Available for sale via the SSA Website –
  •  National Facilities Database (NFDb) – 6/2013 © 2013
  • Reis, Inc. (quarterly reports for over 10,000 facility responses)