Apartments Drive Growth in Self Storage

Self storage facilities have become as American as Motherhood and Apple Pie, says columnist Lew Sichelman.

Self storage facilities have become as American as Motherhood and Apple Pie. And ubiquitous, too.

There are now more self storage locations than every Best Buy, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, McDonald’s and Subway stores put together, according to a new report from RentCafe.

Self storage in the United States has grown to an impressive 1.5 billion square feet. And 20 percent of that—more than 295 million square feet—was added in the last decade. Indeed, the 10-year, 2011-‘20 period was the third-most active decade ever, the report says.

But that last statistic is somewhat misleading, for after starting off slowly during the early years of the past decade, self storage construction took off during the final years. The biggest year was in 2018, when more than 57 million square feet came online.


The reasons are varied. But in large part, RentCafe says it was driven by the recent boom in apartments. For example, Dallas and New York not only gained the most apartments during the period, the two metro areas also saw the delivery of the most self storage space.

Add to the surge in multifamily housing the fact that the business is “closely related” to such life events as moving, home improvement, downsizing and changes in household composition and “you have the perfect context for a flourishing industry that’s poised for even more development,” RentCafe predicts.

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