Devon Self Storage released an operations update covering the company’s performance during the third quarter of 2010 in its quarterly newsletter. Written by Angus Morrison, senior vice president of operations, the update covers occupancy, rental activity, pressure from competition, Web inquiries and more.
The company’s third quarter began with good consumer demand, reasonable rates and good inbound inquiry volume. However, demand waned in the second part of July and into August in many of the company’s markets.
In June, Devon same-store sites gained 13,763 square feet. In July these same sites gained 13,696 square feet. In August the sites lost 11,495 square feet primarily as a result of student vacates and lower gross leasing. So while the quarter was still positive, momentum slowed during the last six weeks. The sites are still posting a positive net of 82,162 square feet for the nine months ending Sept. 30.
Devon continued to roll out tenant rent increases, but has been more selective and the rates have seen pressure from the larger real estate investment trusts. Overall, posted rents rose approximately 11 percent during the January to June timeframe, and declined by 5 percent to 7 percent from July through September.
Rental inquiry activity slowed during this same period with a total of 7,093 inquiries in the third quarter. Closing percentages remained strong at more than 47 percent. Devon managers have an 81 percent close rate for walk-in customers, 41 percent for store telephone inquiries and 24 percent for call-center leads.
Inquires from the Internet continued to drive traffic to the self-storage operator. Overall, 19 percent of all move-ins came through various Internet channels. Referrals also continued to be a source of new move-ins, representing 16 percent of new customers.
The Devon operations team is led by April Noel, Jim Mooney, Michael Vinciguerra, Jerry Ostach and Jacob Steele.