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3 Items the Self-Storage Industry Can Be Thankful for This Year

This time of year is often about reflection and perspective. As we inch toward the Thanksgiving holiday, here are three items the self-storage industry can be particularly thankful for in 2022.

Tony Jones

November 18, 2022

3 Min Read
3 Items the Self-Storage Industry Can Be Thankful for This Year

I don’t know about you, but when the weather turns brisk and the leaves begin to fall, I inevitably harken back to my childhood and all the smells and good cheer that seemed to come with the holiday season. For many, there’s comfort in annual traditions, familial banter and the mouth-watering aromas that always seem to emanate from the kitchen this time of year.

On the flip side, the fall and winter seasons can be lonely and cruel for those who are not so fortunate. There’s a reason why this is the giving season and a time of year when we should all take stock in what we have and reflect on the bright side of our lives. No matter how bad things may seem in the stress and bustle of daily work life, there are those who are far worse off and deserving of help and compassion.

As an industry, self-storage has much to be thankful for in 2022. By nearly every measure, this has been a record-setting year. Here are three things in particular I think are noteworthy.

1. Continuity

When the calendar turned to 2022, we were in the midst of a massive surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. In January, we were still learning the severity of this new strain, which created another wave of unrest. As it turned out, the biggest impact to most businesses was mostly staff shortages as opposed to another round of costly shutdowns. As consumers tried to get some normalcy back in their lives, self-storage operators thrived.

Throughout the ordeal of the pandemic, self-storage has fared better than perhaps any other industry. From the get-go, the sector was deemed an essential business, which allowed facilities to remain open and continue to make money. Though the early days of the pandemic weren’t without hardship for operators, as a whole, the industry showed its resolve and mettle. Remaining operational provided business continuity and set the stage for what has been a banner year of record demand and rental rates, not to mention continued high interest from investors.

2. Record Action

Thus, the record action is another item for which the industry can be thankful. Record-high occupancies with eye-popping rent per square foot have been more common than not. As a result, business and property values have soared, giving sellers—many of whom have been in business for decades—an opportunity to cash out, while providing other operators the chance to grow their portfolios and new investors to get their feet underneath them with meat still on the bone.

Though roadblocks persist, whether municipal restrictions, difficulty in finding suitable vacant ground for construction and the price of entry, the industry has thrived in the midst of further consolidation and competition for real estate, largely because the public continues to demand storage space and investors like their odds to capitalize.

3. Resilient Record

Of course, all of the success this year has come despite record inflation and continued economic uncertainty, including the imposing shadow of a possible recession. While investors may shy away from other industries, they continue to double down on self-storage due to its track record through the Great Recession as well as the pandemic. There’s every indication that operators are well-positioned to weather whatever may come in the months ahead.

Part of the beauty of self-storage is in the flexibility of the business model to adjust rates and services to impact operating income and facility value. It’s both a real estate play as well as a service business. Though no industry can be entirely recession proof, the ability of self-storage operators to adjust to the times and investors to reap consistent returns are among the sector’s greatest strengths.

From all of us at ISS, I hope everyone has an enjoyable and satisfying Thanksgiving holiday.

About the Author(s)

Tony Jones

ISS Store Manager, Contributing Editor, Inside Self-Storage

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