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15 Mar 2022

Three demographic trends to consider when evaluating self storage demand

James McLean

Union Realtime

When asking experts what the three most important factors that determine the success of a Self Storage facility are they may say: location, location, and location. Finding the right location is an important process that developers and operators alike will have different opinions on. However, there are a few fundamental demographic trends that are directly correlated to Self Storage demand.

People who have expendable income are more likely to buy recreational items like skis, golf sets and surfboards that are only to be used for a small portion of the year. People with expendable income are also more likely to consider a Self Storage unit a necessary expense. Looking at Median Household income is a good way to gauge if your market has a population with an expendable income. The higher the income, the more likely they are to have an excess of “stuff” as well as the inclination to store their things in a Self Storage unit, driving demand for Self Storage.

Renter occupied housing is a strong driver for Self Storage demand. Renters are more likely to move around frequently and need a Self Storage unit to store their belongings. Renters often also live in smaller spaces, so will utilize storage units for excess items that don’t fit in their home. Areas with high renter occupied housing percentages are more likely to have higher Self Storage demand.

Households with basements have historically been a detractor for Self Storage as people will store their excess things in their basement. However, after COVID-19 people have been repurposing their basements for home offices, or home gyms bringing about the need to empty their basement of clutter. This trend has started to reverse the idea that households with basements are a detractor for Self Storage demand, although further research is needed to see if they will ever be seen as a Self Storage driver.