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

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Rents in Victoria are generally lower. The highest overall rents are being charged by two facilities with a small average unit size (45 square feet), which are obtaining an overall average rent of $2.55 to $2.72 per square foot per month. Otherwise, the range is from $1.56 to $1.79. Rents in most facilities were raised in 2008 be at least 5 percent.

Nanaimo rents are considerably lower than rents in either the Lower Mainland or the Capital Regional District. A 2008 survey determined the highest overall rent per square foot per month was $1.35.

A survey in Kamloops last year indicated the highest overall rent per square foot per month was approximately $1.45. This may change with the completion of a new 65,000-square-foot facility proposed for construction this year.

Edmonton rents are generally lower than those of the British Columbia urban centers, partly due to larger unit sizes. Projections for a multi-level new facility currently under construction with an average unit size of 106 square feet are at $1.51 per square foot per month. Recently reported average rents in two older facilities with average unit sizes of 130-plus square feet are in the range of $1.04 to $1.08 per square foot per month.

Prediction for 2009: Rents will remain level while incentives to lease up new space will increase. This could include free rent periods, free locks, free use of a truck to move in, etc.
 
Occupancy Levels

Occupancies in most western markets were in the 95 percent-plus range until fall 2007 when occupancies dropped by an estimated 5 percent and did not recover. Occupancies appear to have softened again in the last six months, and call volumes are reported to be down.

In general, the softening appears to be by 2 percent to 4 percent in the Vancouver Lower Mainland and Edmonton. Occupancies should hold steady this year, ranging from 85 percent to 90 percent in markets with a balanced supply.

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