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Self-Storage Industry Strength Topic of 'Commerical Real Estate Show'


Despite the sluggish economy of the past few years, self-storage properties have performed fairly well in 2011 and, in many instances, the sector presents investors with attractive purchasing opportunities. That was the view of guests on this week’s “Commercial Real Estate Show,” which provided a detailed examination of the self-storage market.

Self-storage properties owned by larger real estate investment trusts (REITs) have experienced about an 8 percent increase in same-store net income when compared with last year, noted Nancy Miller, vice president of Bull Realty’s National Retail Group, citing a study from Inside Self-Storage. Those same REITs have reported increases in same-store revenue and in occupancy rates, she said.

Miller added that a recent national survey indicates rental and occupancy have begun to dip as the year draws to a close, but Anne Ballard, owner of Universal Management Co., noted that the fourth quarter often is a slow period for the sector. “As I see it, we’re coming out of this bottoming out that we all experienced in 2009 and 2010,” Ballard said.

The show guests also agreed this could be a good time to buy self-storage properties—provided you put sufficient thought and research into potential acquisitions. “I do think it’s a good time to buy, but I do think it’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to see the property through,” said Steve Houghton of SecurLock Self Storage Centers. “We’re buying with the idea that it could be a while before things really turn around and that we may not be at the bottom yet.”

Northeastern cities such as Boston, Washington and New York, as well as Midwestern markets like Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee, are areas in which investors may want to consider purchasing self-storage properties, Miller added.

Like all commercial real estate sectors, the self-storage industry is dealing with distressed assets, but Scott Zucker, a partner with the Weissman Zucker Euster Morochnik P.C. law firm, says lenders are “being a little more patient now in pulling the trigger on foreclosure arrangements with the borrowers.”

“There are a lot of successful operations throughout the country that are doing well,” Zucker said. “There’s distress out there, but everyone is going to be OK.”

“It’s a strong sector,” noted show host Michael Bull of Bull Realty. “It’s performed well compared to other sectors throughout the years.”

The “Commercial Real Estate Show," available for download at, airs at 10 a.m. ET Saturday in Atlanta on Biz 1190, and at 9 a.m. ET Sunday on Talk 920. The next installment is Nov. 26 and will explore the latest developments in architecture and building design.

America’s “Commercial Real Estate Show” is a national talk-radio show about commercial real estate. New shows are available every Thursday at and are broadcast on several AM stations. Podcasts are available on-demand on iTunes and the show website.

The show host is 30-year commercial real estate veteran Michael Bull, CCIM. He is the founder of Bull Realty Inc, a regional commercial brokerage headquartered in Atlanta.

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