From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

Now for a little good news….

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Globe Street has a great piece about the self storage market, which is doing very nicely lately. Top firms in the fiele had revenue growth of 4% to 5.8% in the 3rd quarter, with net operating income growing 7.3% to 8.6%. ranged as high as 91.7% at Public Storage. The article properly notes that this sector is now joining apartments in strong, positive territory. Overall REIT share performance, as noted in the chart below, certainly underscores this (YTD as of October 2011, data courtesy NAREIT).

While the article correctly notes the strength in this market segment, it doesn’t connect the dots vis-a-vis why. Some of this is obvious, but it bears noting due to the very signficant long-range implications. The more-or-less simultaneous strength of the apartment sector and the self storage sector isn’t coincidental — the popularity of apartments for households which WOULD HAVE been in the owner-occupied housing market is driving the need for self storage. Anecdotal evidence of late suggests that the trend is toward smaller apartments — studios, efficiencies, and one-bedrooms seem to be in higher demand lately, although I haven’t seen this formally quantified as of yet. Given that, not only is there a need for self-storage, there will also be an increased need for SMALLER self-storage units as opposed to larger ones, urban infill units (or at least units near apartment communities) and even self-storage as an adjunct to apartment communities themselves.

Long term? This market risks getting over-build whenever the housing market stabilizes. However, that seems to be several years out. In the intermediate term, one would suspect a strong demand for more units paralleling the demand for apartments.

Written by johnkilpatrick

November 11, 2011 at 9:31 am

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