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Today's Self-Storage Outlook: Are Things Getting Better?

The self-storage industry is holding steady in today's troubled economy. Self-Storage Talk members share their move-in and move-out ratios.

Amy Campbell

July 9, 2009

2 Min Read
Today's Self-Storage Outlook: Are Things Getting Better?

A few days ago, we posted a news item about the owners of Granite City Self Storage in Quincy, Mass., who say the economic downturn has actually been good for their business and even led to a facility expansion.

A similar news piece came across my desk today. Greeneville Self Storage in Greeneville, Tenn., celebrated a 47-unit addition this week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The last few months of roller-coaster news have left many of us scratching our heads and wondering, “Are things getting better?”

While I do not have a definitive answer to that question, I can tell you self-storage is holding its own in most markets. Physical occupancy did drop 5 percent nationally in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of 2008—when, let’s face it, the economy was doing much better—and currently stands at about 84 percent, according to information from Self Storage Data Services Inc. (SSDA), which measures rental demand by tracking and analyzing monthly trends in move-ins and move-outs.

“A lot of people are looking for, no wishing for good news about self-storage, but unfortunately, self-storage is feeling the pain all real estate sectors are feeling,” Ray Wilson told me via e-mail Thursday. Ray is the president of SSDS and a renowned self-storage expert valuation expert. However, he also said the “only difference is self-storage’s performance is not being impacted as severe as all other sectors.”

In May, SSDS reported the demand for self-storage did gain strength in the consumer market during the first quarter. In March, total rental activity increased nearly 10 percent over February 2009 and was only down 3.5 percent compared to March of 2008, according to SSDS data.

Some Self-Storage Talk forum members have experienced increased move-ins this summer, while others are eagerly awaiting their next customer. Gatorgal in Gainesville, Fla., says all of the facilities in her area are struggling. In contrast, Always Open Storage in Danville, Ill., reported 30 move-ins and only 10 move-outs in May.

What’s happening in your market? Are you fielding more calls or greeting more walk-ins. Post a comment below or join the discussion at Self-Storage Talk.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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