Overview of Self-Storage in Western Canada: Holding Steady During Difficult Times

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Two new facilities are in the development-permit process and will add approximately 180,000 square feet to the supply if completed in 2009. One facility will be removed from the inventory through an expropriation for highway purposes. The potential net addition to supply in 2009 may be as low as 10,000 square feet.

The Capital Regional District has a supply of approximately 672,000 square feet in 21 facilities, with an average size of about 32,000 square feet. Supply has increased by almost 50 percent in the past three years. In 2008, two new facilities totaling 67,500 square feet were added to the supply. There are no new additions proposed for 2009.

The Nanaimo trade area has a current supply of 332,000 square feet in 14 facilities, with an average size of about 23,000 square feet. Construction for a large two-story facility (90,000 square feet) will begin soon.

Edmonton and Calgary each have an estimated supply of about 2.5 square feet per capita. The Edmonton supply was recently surveyed and comprises 2.34 million square feet, or 2.52 square feet per capita. The average facility size is 51,000 square feet, but average unit sizes are generally larger (130 square feet).

Three new facilities commenced construction in 2008, with a total area of just under 200,000 square feet. Two of these are currently leasing, the third will be completed in 2009. Phase two of one of the new facilities may be developed in 2009, adding another 40,000 square feet to the inventory, and an expansion of 39,000 square feet is proposed for an existing facility. Otherwise, there is no new supply proposed for 2009.
 
Rents Vary

The highest rents in Canada are found in the Lower Mainland, with the overall highest rent per square foot generated by a well-located facility in Vancouver at $3.24 per square foot per month, with an average unit size of 75 square feet. Otherwise, rents range from $1.31 per square foot per month in the suburban areas, depending on the unit mix.

Operators are reporting increased demand for smaller units because of price points. The majority of operators contacted said no rent increases were planned for 2009, or only selective rent increases by unit size would be implemented depending on occupancy.

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