The Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) and investment-management firm JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) have released research findings from a 2019 survey of the European self-storage market. The organizations polled more than 800 facility operators. The results indicate the market continues to grow, though there’s continued consolidation driven by the largest operators, according to a press release.
This year, there are 4,350 facilities comprising 9.8 million square meters of storage in operation on the continent, an increase of more than 500 properties for the third year in a row. In the last 12 months, there were more than €250 million in self-storage transactions, though much of that is driven by the largest companies. The top 10 European operators represent 25 percent of all facilities in the region and 40 percent of available rentable space, the release stated.
The average rental rate in Europe is €259 per square meter per year, with average physical occupancy at 79 percent. The amount of storage space available equates to nine self-storage facilities per 1 million inhabitants compared to more than 160 properties in the United States. The United Kingdom continues to lead all European markets in self-storage square footage per capita, comprising 40 percent of all facilities across the continent.
“In the last 12 months, we have seen a step change in the amount of interest in the self-storage sector from an increasingly diverse set of investors who are looking to access the market in a number of different ways,” said Ollie Saunders, lead director of self-storage Europe for JLL. “From funding development, to entering joint ventures and direct acquisition, the market remains active but sometimes frustrated by the lack of stock and entrepreneurial operators looking to expand. There have been some notable deals in the sector this year, such as [Legal & General Investment Management Ltd.’s] first acquisition into the market, which is testament to the growth and continued interest from institutional investors.”
Legal & General, a Europe-based asset manager, entered the market in August by acquiring the three-property Iron Self-Storage portfolio in Bolton, Cannock and Northwich, England. Together, the newly constructed facilities comprise about 140,000 square feet.
“The self-storage industry in Europe continues to perform well, although this year’s results were not as positive as previous years. Consolidation of the market looks like it’s continuing with the major operators having funding to expand their portfolio, but decreasing numbers of properties available for development,” noted FEDESSA CEO Rennie Schafer. “Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts to emerging technology like unmanned stores and Bluetooth access control. We also expect the rise of mixed-use [developments] to open up new opportunities for the sector and drive growth as it lowers development costs and maximizes the use of land. With the cost of land rising, this can open up previously out of reach opportunities for self-storage in major metropolitan areas where land prices are at a premium.”
Founded in 2004, FEDESSA consists of 14 self-storage associations across Europe and represents about 1,400 facilities.
JLL is an investment-management firm specializing in real estate services for property investors and occupiers. The company has about 300 corporate offices in more than 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 92,000 employees.