The European self-storage market continues to grow, with a high ceiling for future supply, according to research released by the Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) and investment-management firm JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle). This year, the continent has 3,247 storage facilities in operation comprising 8.7 million square meters, an increase of more than 500 properties in the last year, according to a press release.
“The self-storage industry has had a strong 2017 and has seen growth in rents, occupancy and the number of new stores across nearly every European country,” said Ollie Saunders, lead director for JLL’s Alternatives Team. “Robust demand, coupled with ever-increasing awareness about the sector, makes the next 12 months look positive for operators and investors.”
Despite the growth, the amount of rentable storage space available is just .018 square meters per person, compared to .878 square meters in the United States. Further, more than 85 percent of European facilities are concentrated in six countries, with 44 percent of facilities across the continent in the United Kingdom. The region is “highly fragmented” in terms of operating companies, with the 10 largest brands comprising 22 percent of all European facilities and 39 percent of total storage space, the release stated.
Among the countries outpacing the continental average of storage space per capita are Iceland and the Netherlands. Along with the U.K, these markets each have three times the European average of rentable square feet per person. Still, average rent across the region has risen to €258 per square meter per year, while average occupancy grew from 80 percent to 81 percent year over year.
“The growth of self-storage in the U.K. has been fueled firstly by an increase in the number of people using self-storage to support their relocation around the country and, following Brexit, noticeably to other parts of the world,” said Rennie Schafer, CEO for FEDESSA and the Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom.
One growing trend, particularly in the U.K., has been an increase in commercial tenants, including those renting office space and units for inventory. “Last year alone, more than 10,000 customers started their businesses in U.K. self-storage units,” Schafer said. “Indeed, around 42 percent of all self-storage space in the U.K. is rented to business owners, with around half providing storage space for the burgeoning rise in online retail.”
Founded in 2004, FEDESSA consists of 14 self-storage associations across Europe and represents about 1,400 self-storage 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 78,000 employees. It completed $136 billion in acquisitions, finance and sales transactions in 2016.