Self-Storage Midyear Outlook
Self-Storage Buoyant Through Health Crisis;
Demand Drivers at Point of Transition
Self-storage proves durable through pandemic. Although not exempt to the challenges posed by the health crisis, self-storage properties have demonstrated resilience over the past 16 months. Before the pandemic arrived, the sector was contending with the detrimental effects of record construction activity on fundamentals, especially rents. The sudden shift to remote learning and working, as well as a greater emphasis on outdoor activities and migration to less dense areas, created new needs for storage units. An increase in move-ins, paired with fewer move-outs, pushed the national vacancy rate down to a multidecade low of 7.2 percent last year. The drop in availability, aided by a slight slowdown in deliveries, applied upward pressure to asking rents on a countrywide level for the first time since late 2017. These performance fundamentals have continued to improve through the first several months of 2021, even as the dangers of the health crisis abate and life returns to a more typical cadence.