- The New York metro area, currently the country’s most undersupplied major market, ranks first nationally for new self storage development.
- Las Vegas, NV, and North Port-Sarasota, FL, are the metros building the most suburban self storage.
- The Chicago and Boston metro areas, on the other hand, see new self storage developments almost exclusively in urban settings.
- Climate control is the most popular type of amenity for the self storage facilities planned or currently under construction.
The self storage industry is continuing its march forward as both rent performance and demand keep building up. The need for self storage is expanding beyond the traditional pillars known as the 4D’s – dislocation, death, divorce and disaster – from storing excess stuff around the house to optimizing living space for downsizing and co-habiting to keeping office furniture and documents. Mainly supported by this increase in demand, rents have been on a steady rise over the past 12 months, with the national average street rate at $128, up 6% year-over-year.
Development is following suit, with over 131 million square feet of new storage space planned and under construction around the U.S. That would increase the existing stock – now accounting for over 1.6 billion rentable square feet of storage space – by 9%, according to data from Yardi Matrix. Roughly 50 million square feet are scheduled for delivery in 2022 alone.
Naturally, there are significant differences between the various areas of the country. More than half of the new self storage development – approx. 68 million square feet – is located in the nation’s most active metros. Of those, the ones that see the most activity generally fall into two categories: undersupplied metros with a low per-capita inventory, or fast-growing urban hotspots where demand is fueled by significant inbound migration.
To see where new self storage development is concentrated, we’ve looked at 202 of the biggest metros across the US and ranked them based on the total rentable square footage currently planned or under construction.
New York, LA Top Self Storage Development
The New York and Los Angeles metros are among the most undersupplied self storage markets in the country with, respectively, only about two and four square feet of storage space per capita, compared to a national benchmark of 7.1 net rentable square feet per person.
Both metros also exhibit a strong demand for self storage, typical for large urban hotspots with expensive housing markets and large inbound migration. And their self storage sectors strive to meet demand, with the two metros ranking first and second, respectively, in terms of planned and under-construction self storage space right now.
The New York metro area takes the top spot for new self storage development, with almost 12 million square feet of space planned and under construction, of which 6.2M square feet are expected to be delivered this year alone. New York currently has a total self storage inventory of almost 72 million square feet of storage space – double the area of Central Park – and the new additions represent almost 17% of the existing inventory.
The New York metro area experienced a heightened interest in self storage both during and in the aftermath of the pandemic as people squeezed gyms, play areas and office space into their homes. Most of those extra uses linger, even as the health crises fades away, and add to the traditional needs that emerge from the lack of space associated with NYC city living.
Most of the self storage development occurring in the New York metro area is located in urban areas (80%) and the vast majority is in the form of new buildings (96%). Staying in line with modern storage needs, most facilities will have climate-controlled units, allowing the safe storage of valuable and temperature-sensitive items, including documents, electronics and artwork.
Among the NY metro’s submarkets, Queens dominates firmly in terms of self storage space being planned and under construction – almost 1.3M square feet of space, more than double the amount being developed in Staten Island, which comes second. Queens’ neighborhoods – which combine desirable locations reasonably close to Manhattan’s business districts with relatively affordable housing – make the borough interesting for many New Yorkers in the market for a new home. With moving and home improvement being important pillars of self storage demand, it’s only natural that there’s a flurry of new self storage construction in Queens.
Manhattan, which boasted the largest self storage sales volume in 2021, is in the process of adding almost 360K square feet of space to its existing stock.
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ranks second nationally for planned and under-construction self storage space, with 6.3M square feet, representing about 9% of the existing inventory. The metro area currently has a total inventory or almost 68M square feet of storage space – you could fit the local Disneyland 15 times over into that area. However, per capita, it translates to only four square feet of self storage space, meaning that the market is still undersupplied.
Just as in New York’s case, most developments are new projects (85%), with the remaining being expansions of existing facilities. However, unlike New York, where 80% of the new properties are in urban areas, 43% of the LA facilities in development right now are located in suburban areas, in tone with the sprawling Californian metro and the local preferences toward suburban living.
Another three Californian metros, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade and San Diego-Carlsbad, are among the top 20 most active markets for self storage development, ranking 13th, 14th and 15th, respectively, for under-construction and planned facilities. Each of these three metros is in the process of adding over 2M square feet of new storage space to its inventory. The Riverside-San Bernardino metro area has a high proportion (73%) of its new self storage development located in urban areas, while the other two Californian metros divide their new storage space relatively equally between urban and suburban areas.
Phoenix Is Closing In on Dallas for Self Storage Development, and Gets Ahead of the Miami Metro Area
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is one of the country’s biggest success stories in terms of economic and population growth, with droves of people and businesses migrating to the area. With moving being one of the most common drivers of self storage, and business storage emerging as a significant component of the industry, it’s no wonder that the Dallas metro area keeps adding new self storage space to its 72M square-foot inventory. Dallas is now the third most active self storage market in the US, with its new supply pipeline counting over 5.4 million square feet.
As much as two thirds of the new space is located in urban areas, with another third in the suburbs. Despite the healthy per-capita inventory of eight square feet, the street rates in the Dallas metro area are holding up well, seeing a 7.2% year-over-year increase, most likely due to rising population numbers and economic growth.
Dallas is not the only Texan metro where a lot of self storage development is happening right now. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ranks 16th nationally for new developments, with almost 2M square feet of planned and under-construction self storage space to be added to its 68 million square-foot inventory.
Although significantly smaller in terms of population than Dallas, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale is well on track to catch up the Texan metro for self storage development. The Phoenix metro area – currently home to 36 million square feet of storage space – ranks fourth nationally for new development. More than 4.6 million square feet are currently under construction, with 2.3M square feet planned to be delivered in 2022. Phoenix’s position as one of the fastest growing cities in the country is, without a doubt, fueling the self storage industry in the area. Phoenix and its satellite cities have been attracting renters and homebuyers alike as the housing market is more affordable – for now – than many other in-demand locations around the country. Akin to Dallas, Phoenix benefits from a strong, eight square feet per capita inventory of self storage space, but keeps adding new space at a robust pace, answering local demand. Self storage street rates in the area have shown an impressive 12.5% year-over-year increase, with a 10’x10’ storage unit in Phoenix currently renting for $126/month on average.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach is ranking fifth nationally for self storage development, with almost four million square feet of storage space planned for delivery. The Miami metro area currently has a total inventory of over 40 million square feet of storage space, which translates to a decent six square feet per capita. However, local demand seems to be surging, and the metro area is experiencing an almost 17% year-over-year increase in street rates, with a 10’x10’ storage unit in Miami renting for $168.
Aside from regular moving activity, other key drivers of Miami’s appetite for self storage include its snowbird population, which tends to store their seasonal belongings over summer until they’re back again to their Florida retreats, as well as the typical Floridian passion for RVs and boats. Almost 15% of the storage facilities that are now planned and under construction in the Miami metro area will provide storage space for recreational vehicles.
The Philadelphia Metro Area Amps Up Storage Space, Ranks 6th for New Supply
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington is, alongside New York and Los Angeles, one of the most undersupplied markets among those that made it into the top 10 of the most active for self storage development. The existing inventory of almost 26M square feet of storage space translates to about four square feet per person. Another almost 4M square feet of storage space are planned and under construction, representing over 15% of the inventory and placing the Philadelphia metro area on 6th place nationally for self storage development.
Most of the self storage space currently being developed in Philadelphia is built as new projects (95%), with modern features and amenities that include climate-controlled environments.
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, ranks 7th nationally for self storage development, with 3.5M square feet of planned and under-construction storage space. While Atlanta has big-city prices, it still offers a great bang for the buck, especially compared to other rapidly growing metros, and this is one of the reasons both people and businesses flock to the area. As it assists the moving process, self storage is strongly in demand and new development of it continues to be spurred on.
With a total stock of 40 million square feet, Atlanta enjoys about seven square feet of storage space per person, in line with the national benchmark. However, the 15% year-over-year street rate hikes signal high occupancy rates and room for market expansion. Most of the new self storage development (87%) occurs in urban settings, bringing that extra storage space where it’s needed – to residents occupying apartments and smaller dwellings.
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria ranks 8th nationally in terms of self storage development, with 3M square feet of planned and under-construction storage space. The new supply will add to an existing inventory of almost 46M square feet of space. The local self storage demand is powered by a continuous influx of renters, including governmental employees, young professionals and families, mostly to Arlington, Alexandria and DC proper. 85% of all new development is located in urban areas, and 87% of it is in the form of new facilities. The rest can be accounted for by expansions and adaptive reuse projects.
The Las Vegas Metro Area Moves Toward Suburban Self Storage Development
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, ranking 9th nationally, sees a massive proportion of its new self storage space going to suburban areas – 65%. This shift toward the suburbs is mirroring the metro area’s evolution from a primarily touristic spot to a popular moving destination for families. Although the existing self storage space per capita in the Las Vegas metro area stands at a respectable nine square feet, demand in the area remains elevated. The average street rate has in fact increased 10% year-over-year, reaching $128 per month on average. Apart from newcomers moving to Las Vegas, other avenues of self storage demand include the area’s booming events industry, the RV culture, and people relocating temporarily to the area in order to spend winters under the desert sun.
Chicago’s Self Storage Market Gains Momentum, Appeals to Urban Dwellers
Rounding up the top 10 best metros for self storage development, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin registers 2.6M square feet of self storage space planned and under construction, representing a little over 5% of its existing inventory.
91% of the new self storage facilities planned for Chicago are located in urban areas. This trend reflects the extra need for storage space inside the urban hotspots of the metro area, characterized by homes and apartments on the smaller side, as opposed to its suburbs, which generally provide generous living spaces to residents. The average size of an apartment in the city of Chicago is 750 square feet, considerably below the national apartment average of 882 square feet.
Urban vs. Suburban Self Storage Development, Keeping In Line With Local Needs
Alongside land availability, zoning and building costs, population growth was always at the top of developers’ minds when building self storage and it continues to drive development interest. The suburbs saw massive inbound migration in recent times, driving the expansion of both housing and self storage.
Among the top 20 metros for self storage development, Florida’s North Port-Sarasota area registers the highest amount of new suburban self storage. About two thirds of the 1.7M square feet of the new storage space in the process of being built in the North Port-Sarasota metro area are located in suburban settings – which suits the needs of newcomers to the area, many of them retirees in search of more peaceful surroundings.
In a similar vein, the Phoenix metro area, one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, is also adding substantial self storage square footage in the suburbs. About 51% of the facilities that are planned and under construction in the Phoenix metro area are suburban – a trend that has been in the making for several years. In fact, in 2021, self storage construction volumes doubled from a year before in suburban Phoenix.
In other busy metros, including Chicago and New York, new self storage construction remains mostly inside the urban core, where cramped living spaces continue to drive up demand.
While moving and lack of space at home remain the pillars of self storage use, other reasons, both social and economic, add to the need for self storage, and it’s this combination of demand factors that drive the expansion of the industry. Check out the state of play in the self storage development market in the biggest 100 metros below.
This analysis was done by RentCafe, an online platform that provides apartment and storage unit listings across the nation.
For this analysis, we considered 2,100 self storage facilities that were planned and under construction as of March 2022, located in 202 metros.
We ranked the top 100 metros based on the rentable square footage of the planned and under-construction facilities.
The per-capita self storage calculation was made by dividing the existing self storage inventory, in square feet, by the population of the city plus within a 3-mile radius around the city. For each metro area, the per-capita inventory represents an average of the inventories of the individual cities and towns in that metro area.
The data regarding planned and under-construction facilities, self storage inventory, self storage rents and year-over-year evolution of the rents were taken from Yardi Matrix.
Data regarding population were taken from the US Census.