The five largest publicly traded, U.S.-based self-storage real estate investment trusts (REITs)—CubeSmart, Extra Space Storage Inc., Life Storage Inc., National Storage Affiliates Trust and Public Storage Inc.—have released financial statements for the quarter that ended March 31. In general, the companies indicated gains in funds from operations (FFO), net operating income (NOI) and occupancy.
“We are off to a great start in 2021, with the strongest first-quarter occupancy in our history,” said Joe Margolis, CEO of Extra Space. “Our record-high occupancy is resulting in greater pricing power, and we are well-positioned for a strong summer-leasing season. Our year-to-date performance, the resilience of storage fundamentals and our accretive external growth have allowed us to raise our 2021 annual FFO guidance.”
Christopher P. Marr, president and CEO of CubeSmart, expressed similar sentiments. “Performance remains strong across the country as we continue to meet the needs of our customers in this rapidly changing environment. As we enter the busy rental season, record-high occupancy and an improving macroeconomic backdrop will continue to provide a positive operating environment. We remain disciplined in evaluating external growth opportunities with our continued focus on generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders.”
CubeSmart reported FFO per share of $0.47 during the first quarter of 2021, up from $0.41 a year ago. Same-store NOI at its 511 facilities grew 8.9% year over year. The company attributed this to a 6.7% increase in revenue and a 2% increase in operating expenses. Same-store locations contributed 90.7% of property NOI during the quarter.
Same-store physical occupancy was 94.4% as of March 31, up from 91.3% a year ago. The company’s total-owned portfolio, representing 543 facilities and comprising 38.7 million square feet of rentable space, had a physical occupancy of 93% at the end of the quarter.
CubeSmart didn’t acquire any wholly-owned properties during the quarter, but it did complete a new development in Virginia for $26.4 million. It was a second-phase project that’s part of a consolidated joint venture in which the REIT owns a 90% interest. At quarter-end, the company had five joint-venture projects under construction to which it’s expected to contribute $120.5 million.
On Feb. 23, the company declared a dividend of 34 cents per common share, which was equal to the previous quarter. The dividend was paid on April 15 to common shareholders of record on April 1.
CubeSmart owns or manages 1,244 self-storage facilities across the United States. Its operating portfolio comprises 85.5 million square feet.
Extra Space Storage Inc.
Same-store revenue and NOI at Extra Space increased 4.6% and 6.5%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2020. Core FFO, excluding adjustments for non-cash interest, was $1.50 per diluted share, a 21% increase over the previous year. Same-store occupancy was 95.7% as of March 31 compared to 90.9% a year prior.
During the quarter, the company acquired nine facilities for approximately $148.4 million. It also sold 16 wholly-owned stores into a new joint venture for $168.9 million, resulting in a $64.5 million gain.
Extra Space paid a quarterly dividend of $1 per common share, which was up from 90 cents the previous quarter. It was paid on March 31 to common shareholders of record on March 15.
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space owns or operates 1,969 self-storage properties in 40 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 1.4 million units and 153.4 million square feet of rentable space.
Life Storage Inc.
Same-store revenue and NOI at Life Storage increased 7.3% and 8.6%, respectively, compared to 2020. FFO was $1.08, compared to $0.94 a year ago, while adjusted FFO for the quarter was also $1.08 per fully diluted common share, compared to $0.93.
Net income attributable to common shareholders for the first quarter was $47.4 million, or $0.63 per fully diluted share. For the same period in 2020, net income attributable to common shareholders was $36.4 million, or $0.52 per fully diluted common share. The increase was primarily attributed to $800,000 of preferred dividend income associated with the acquisition of a facility from one of the REIT’s unconsolidated joint ventures.
Same-store revenue for the company’s 531 wholly owned, stabilized facilities increased 7.3% year over year, impacted by an increase in average occupancy of 410 basis points and a 1.3% bump in rental rates. Overall occupancy as of March 31 was 93.1%, up from 88.3% a year ago, with units renting for an average of $14.82 per square foot.
During the quarter, Life Storage acquired 16 facilities across six states for $266.2 million. The assets include eight in Florida, three in Arizona, two in Washington, and one each in California, New York and South Carolina. At quarter-end, the company was under contract to acquire six properties for $106.5 million.
During the quarter, the company completed a three-for-two stock split, made in the form of a 50% stock dividend. The additional shares were distributed on Jan. 27. The company also approved a quarterly dividend of $0.74 per share on a post-split basis. It was paid on April 26 to shareholders of record on April 14.
Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Life Storage operates more than 950 self-storage facilities in 33 states and Ontario, Canada. Its portfolio of owned and managed facilities comprises more than 69.9 million square feet.
National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSAT)
Core FFO per share was $0.49 during the first quarter, a 22.5% year-over-year increase. NSAT net income was $27.6 million, a 75.3% increase compared to the same period in 2020.
NSAT reported diluted earnings per share of $0.19 during the quarter. Same-store NOI was up 11.5%, driven primarily by an 8.1% increase in same-store revenue and partially offset by a .6% increase in same-store operating expenses.
As of March 31, same-store occupancy was 93.8%, an increase of 690 basis points from a year ago. Average annualized rental revenue per occupied square foot for same-store facilities was $12.47 during the quarter compared to $12.30 in 2020.
During the quarter, NSAT acquired 23 properties for about $166 million, adding approximately 1.5 million rentable square feet and 11,300 units to the company portfolio.
On Feb. 25, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.35 per common share, which was equal to the previous quarter. It was paid on March 31 to holders of record on March 15.
Headquartered in Greenwood, Colo., NSAT is a self-administered and -managed REIT focused on the acquisition, operation and ownership of self-storage properties within the top 100 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas throughout the United States. The company has ownership interest in 844 storage facilities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. Its portfolio comprises approximately 53.5 million net rentable square feet. It's owned by its affiliate operators, who are contributing their interests in their self-storage assets over the next few years as their current mortgage debt matures.
Public Storage Inc.
Revenue for same-store facilities at Public Storage increased 3.4%, or $21.1 million, over the same quarter in 2020, primarily due to higher realized annual rent per available square foot and weighted average square foot occupancy. Operations costs for same-store facilities decreased 4.3%, or $8.2 million, compared to the previous year. This was attributed primarily to an 8.6% ($6.2 million) decrease in property-tax expense and a 13.2% ($4.4 million) decrease in onsite-manager payroll, and partially offset by an increase in share-based compensation.
FFO was $3.08 per diluted common share, compared to $2.61 for the same period of 2020, marking a 18% increase. NOI increased $41.1 million, which was driven by a $29.3 million increase in same-store facilities and a $11.8 million increase from other facilities acquired in 2020 and 2021 as well as lease-up from recently developed and expanded properties.
During the quarter, Public Storage acquired 15 facilities across nine states for $203.1 million. The properties comprise 1.1 million net rentable square feet. The company also completed a development project in Virginia, adding 200,000 net rentable square feet to its portfolio for $45.4 million.
The company reported a regular common quarterly dividend of $2 per common share, which was equal to the previous quarter. It also declared dividends with respect to various series of preferred shares. All the dividends are payable on June 30 to shareholders of record as of June 15.
Based in Glendale, Calif., Public Storage has interests in 2,563 self-storage facilities in 38 states, with approximately 176 million net rentable square feet. It holds a 35% interest in Shurgard Self Storage SA, which has 243 facilities in seven European countries, with approximately 13 million net rentable square feet.
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