Successful Site Selection with Comprehensive Self Storage Market Data

The UK self storage market consists of a broad demographic, from one and two-store owners to large, multi-site operators like Safestore, Big Yellow, Access, Lok’n Store, Shurgard, Space Maker, Storage King and HSIL Property. Their brands and locations are widely recognized while smaller players tend to be privately owned and operate on a small-scale basis as local companies.

The pandemic proved self storage to be a recession-tolerant industry, observing average price increases of £10.13 year over year. Paired with the fact that the UK is still relatively underserved at less than two square feet per capita (six times lower than the US), investment opportunities in self storage are very attractive.

So, we observe more and more of the new market entrants who are now using innovative models to raise funds.

Investing in an existing facility can be extremely lucrative while developing can be cost-effective but labour intensive, requiring a high level of experience, knowledge and resources to make this a successful return on investment. Informed decision making is critical when determining the appropriate market-entry strategy. Over 110 investment and developmental opportunities are for sale on, however, successful site selection is dependent on thorough data evaluation and market research during the due diligence period. 

Determine your competition, what unit types are being advertised and for what price(s). Consider if new supply is in the pipeline and if new facilities have opened recently. This will provide context when reviewing rental rate trends, volatility and use of promotions to learn the market’s tolerance for new supply. 

Additionally, variables including population density, median household income and percentage of renters can justify an investment when other metrics may suggest otherwise. 

StorTrack’s MarketView Platform (MVP) identified seven facilities that opened within the past year in the UK. Though the gross square footage per capita remains low at 1.34, there are 79 properties in various phases of development, 65 of which came online in Q1 of 2021. Combined with the 3,992 existing facilities documented on MVP, site selection has never been more important. Given that storage is a micro-market industry, a diligent investor can still identify opportunities. 

For example, despite threats of oversupply and subsequent extended lease-up periods, Wales still demonstrated an 11.5% increase in rental rates in Q1 of 2021, up from 1.81% in Q4 of 2020. Alternatively, Northern Ireland came down from 21.45% in Q4 of 2020 to -16.33%. England decreased from 13.95% in Q2 of 2020 to 0.36% in Q1 of 2021 however, there are still many strong markets. For instance, MVP reported that Wolverhampton, a sub-market of Birmingham, is still commanding £2.85 per square foot compared to the UK’s average of £1.1 and the gross square footage per capita is less than half of the UK’s average of 1.34 at 0.54. 

Thorough data evaluation and market research can make the difference between a successful investment and a major loss. Know what the market is doing and learn about the competition to position yourself for a lucrative acquisition.

MVP’s interactive map also identifies competition and construction information as well as proximity to various retailers, universities, military bases, etc. Additionally, the platform includes historical data, rates per square foot, volatility and more on over 85,367,000 net rentable square feet throughout the UK. Many of these features are available on all properties on via an integration with the platform. 

Benchmarking competitors enables an investor to make informed acquisition decisions and MVP’s comprehensive data provides the information necessary to execute a successful transaction. 


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