The Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) and investment-management firm JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) have released research findings from a 2020 survey of the European self-storage market. The organizations polled more than 900 facility operators. The results indicate the industry has remained resilient through the coronavirus pandemic, drawing strong interest from investors. Existing operators in Europe also showed gains in rental rates and occupancy, according to a press release.
This year, there are 4,831 facilities comprising 10.5 million square meters of storage in operation in Europe, an increase of 481 properties from 2019. In the last 12 months, there were more than €250 million in self-storage transactions, which is in line with last year. The top 10 European operators represent 18.2 percent of all facilities in the region and 36.1 percent of available rentable space, according to the source.
The average self-storage rental rate in Europe is €250 per square meter per year, with average physical occupancy at 79 percent. Average occupancy increased from 79.2 percent in February to 79.9 percent in June despite the global pandemic. During the same period, rental rates fell 1 percent.
The United Kingdom continues to lead all European markets in self-storage square footage per capita, followed by Iceland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Several mature markets, including Belgium, France and Germany, are below the European per-capita average, indicating industry potential in those countries, JLL analysts said.
“The statistics [for] self-storage during 2020 are impressive. With resilient rents and strong occupancy levels across Europe, the sector continues to deliver strong cash flows despite the pandemic,” said Ollie Saunders, lead director of self-storage Europe for JLL. “The flexibility of self-storage has meant that it can adapt to changing macro-economic circumstances, as it did in the global financial crisis. The appetite from investors has also remained strong, with transactions marketed and closed since March; but a challenge for the sector is how to get the scale investors want. The answer will be a mix of innovation, patience and best-in-class operators.”
The survey identified technology and sustainability as key drivers for the European self-storage market. More than one-third (36 percent) of facilities offer 24-hour access, and 76 percent of operators intend to spend more on technology to improve their business, the release stated.
“This has been a turbulent time for the property sector, but it’s a testament to self-storage that it’s remained resilient throughout the uncertainty,” said FEDESSA CEO Rennie Schafer. “In all real estate sectors, we are seeing increased integration of technology and a greater emphasis to an omni-channel customer experience, which the self-storage market is also adapting to. With more than three-quarters of those surveyed admitting that they intended to spend more on technology, we should expect to see the market adapt and to continue growing into the next year.”
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.
JLL, FEDESSA European Self Storage Annual Survey 2020