- Self storage property sales totaled around $10B in 2022, down from $12.3B in 2021, but still more than in prior years
- A total of 73.4M total square feet of storage changed hands across the US in 2022
- Based of an analysis of 670 major cities, New York had the greatest sales volume in 2022 — the Bronx alone beat every other place in the nation with four pricey properties totaling $235M
- Houston, TX, Phoenix, AZ, and the small city of Ocala, FL, were the top three cities with the most storage space changing hands
- At state level, Texas traded the most storage space in 2022, more than 16M square feet in 257 facilities
The US self storage sector demonstrated familiar vigor and confidence in 2022. After flying so high peak-pandemic, when it experienced historic occupancy levels, 2022’s total dollar volume of storage facility sales totaled around $10B. That represented an 18.7% decrease over the previous year, according to Yardi Matrix data. But 2021 witnessed an exceptional sale that overshadowed most of the rest – StorageMart’s acquisition of Manhattan Mini Storage from Edison Properties for $3B.
New York City’s 2022 sale volumes exceeded anywhere else in the country once again, totaling over half a billion dollars across the five boroughs. Southwestern cities such as Phoenix and places around Washington, DC, also witnessed plenty of activity and total sales volumes ranging around $100M-$200M.
In terms of actual square footage purchased, 2022 was a solid year for the market. Roughly 73.4M square feet changed hands in 2022 across the US, with Texas and Florida standing out as the states with the liveliest self storage markets. Both witnessed over 10M square feet traded.
Top cities with the highest self storage transaction volumes: The Big Apple’s half a billion dollars of sales beats all other cities, with the Bronx leading
Activity in the New York City self storage sector in 2022 reached a total sales volume of over $565M — more than any in other city in the nation, as was the case the year before — across 16 transactions and 1.6M square feet. The Bronx was the most active borough, seeing four transactions in 2022 totaling $235M.
Meanwhile, however, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island witnessed a total combined sales volume of more than $256M for 10 transactions in all, somewhat more than the equivalent 2021 figure of $174M. Just up the road from the Bronx in Westchester County, Mount Vernon self storage led the rest of the state’s cities with two transactions totaling $68M, one of them the third-largest property traded in the state, having a total area of 185K square feet.
Manhattan witnessed $74M change hands for two sales in 2022, including a pricy $61M facility in the East Village. However, this activity is a huge reduction from the 18 transactions totaling around $3B over the previous year.
Southwest storage enthusiasm led by booming Metro Phoenix and 40 Houston deals
The total sales volume in the Phoenix self storage sector was second-highest registered in the nation, more than $195M across 11 transactions, roughly the same as in the previous year. In addition, the wider Metro Phoenix area’s market clocked up phenomenal activity in 2022 that is up there with NYC’s. The only other place in the state to see self storage sales, the Tucson self storage market saw 120K square feet traded for $7.9M.
Regularly punching above its weight for a city of its size, the Las Vegas self storage sector witnessed five deals in 2022, for a total storage floor space of 376K square feet. The Vegas self storage market is reasonably priced, and in 2022 included a 100K-square-foot facility at the southern edge of town costing $145 per square foot and two smaller ones purchased for a total of 57K square feet at even lower rates.
Texas has a reputation for plentiful and good-value storage. Houston leads the state in terms of self storage square footage bought in 2022, witnessing 3.8M square feet traded. This is way more than in any other US city, the priciest deals being for $38.6M and $31.9M — in fact, six of the top 10 largest Texan facilities traded were all in Houston. Austin and Dallas also performed well with transaction volumes of roughly $31.2M and $25.2M.
Florida’s Ocala and Miami stand out among cities with most sales volumes with $166M and $110M in transactions, respectively
The biggest self storage surprise of 2022 was Ocala, Florida — a city of about 60,000 people, known as the "Horse Capital of the World" on account of its thoroughbred horses — which racked up sales of no less than $166M for 23 transactions. It was in second place for both the number of deals last year and the storage facility square footage involved in them, just over 1M square feet, 92% of which was newly constructed in 2022, with a rather small average facility size of 47K square feet. The fact that Ocala is reported to be the US’s 6th-fastest growing city will surely be stimulating the storage sector there.
The Sunshine State’s major cities also saw plenty of market action last year. The Miami self storage market scored seventh place across the country in terms of sales volumes, with more than $110M spread across six transactions, while neighboring Fort Lauderdale weighed in with $67M for three deals. On the other side of the state, the self storage market in Tampa witnessed $80M of trading, though the six deals involved — at an average of 79K square feet each.
Florida’s biggest deal was in Miami, $33M for a facility covering 69K square feet. This also represented the state’s highest square-footage price at $474, while self storage in the Jacksonville metropolitan area claimed second-place spot in this regard with a deal in Keystone Heights at $422 per square foot — a small facility of 13K square feet — and also the state’s largest facility traded, encompassing 166K square feet.
The Washington–Baltimore area ups its self storage activity hugely in 2022
Areas surrounding the nation’s capital need plenty of storage for commuting DC employees with limited living space at home. Self storage in Alexandria, Virginia, a short journey down the Potomac River, scored a top-five spot for its total sales volume of $114M spread across four deals. These represent averages of 92K square feet per facility and a high $331 per square foot — the two most expensive are in the west of town on Eisenhower Avenue.
Self storage in Washington, DC, itself saw a single deal in 2022, a 166K-square-foot facility close to the city center bought for $46M, a cost per square foot of $277. In the bedroom community of Kensington, just north of DC proper in Maryland, a huge 225K-square-foot large facility was traded for $76M at an even higher per-square-foot cost of $339 — the few other deals of this size and price nationwide were all located in either NYC or LA.
Still in Maryland, the sales volume of Baltimore self storage in 2022 exceeded $88M for eight transactions, with a similar average size to those in Alexandria but at a lower average overall cost of $121 per square foot. Meanwhile in the Baltimore suburb of Windsor Mill — less than an hour’s commute from DC — two recently built facilities changed hands for a total of $57M at a considerably higher square-footage cost of $190.
Top states for traded storage space: Texas in the lead with nearly 16.4M sq. ft. changing hands
Texas always does things bigger and self storage is no exception, its 16.4M new square feet in 2022 spread across 257 transactions — even Dallas in 4th place saw 789K square feet traded. Florida comes in second with 11.7M square feet purchased in 181 deals, its biggest beachside cities joining Ocala.
California and New York State come in quite distant third and fourth places in terms of square footage. In the former, the central San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Van Nuys hit much bigger cities out of the park with 578K square feet purchased. This compares to much lower amounts in other Los Angeles Metro places such as Santa Ana, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Whittier, Hawthorne and the City of Angels itself, which all built less than 100K square feet each in 2022.
The other six states in the top 10 all saw a similar total square footage of storage traded in 2022, with highlights including some small towns with big storage plans: Marietta, Georgia, Loveland, Colorado, Akron, OH, and Mooresville, North Carolina, plus the rapidly expanding Metro Phoenix city of Surprise, Arizona.
REITs dominate 2022 self storage investor activity with Extra Space Storage out in front
REITs fill the top three spots in the list of investors who drove the lively US self storage market last year, based on the transactions for which prices are available.
"Self storage is ranked as one of the best performing risk-averse sectors of commercial real estate, but suitable land for building new stores is now increasingly hard to find," Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager at Yardi Matrix, told us. "The market for trading existing self storage facilities therefore generates plenty of heat these days, with most of the very biggest investors being REITs. The attention this real estate segment receives from these companies demonstrates how highly appreciated it has become, both to clients and to investors, a situation that is likely continue."
Utah-based Extra Space Storage, the US’s 2nd-largest owner of self storage units, ended 2022 with purchases that approached $1.2B. The company bought more than 7M square feet of storage space spread over 80 properties across the U.S., with 796K square feet traded in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone. However, they were also strongly involved in the smaller yet vigorous markets of Baltimore, MD, and Austin, TX, for example, with total purchases of around 400K square feet in both.
In second place for square footage purchased in 2022, the US’s 4th largest owner of storage space, New York’s Life Storage, bought only around half the amount of storage space it had acquired in 2021. However, many facilities were in often-expensive states such as California and New York, although Texas accounted for the most locations, with 12.
In third place for sale volumes — less than two thirds of Life Storage’s — California-based Public Storage’s square-footage purchases dropped by a similar amount year-over-year. Most of the acquisitions were focused on Florida — including nearly all the Ocala deals — and in the Midwest.
The fourth-largest buyer of self storage properties during 2022 was InSite Property Group — the biggest investor on the list that is not a REIT — which specializes in integrated self storage development and management. They acquired 25 properties which are operating under the California-based SecureSpace brand, with 11 in metropolitan areas there, although also across a wide range of other relatively high-rent places such as Seattle, Portland, Austin and Miami.
National Storage Affiliates is a REIT and was the fifth-largest purchaser of U.S. self storage facilities in 2022. However, while their expenditure was lower than InSite’s, due to the company’s very different geographical focus, they were able to purchase around double the number of facilities with double the square footage. The lion’s share of the 48 deals’ locations were in Texas, 14 of them, while East Coast states accounted for most of the rest, Georgia leading with eight and Florida and Pennsylvania having five each.
No REITs are featured in the bottom half of the top 10 of investors. The 15 transactions made by Georgia-based Invesco Ltd in 2022 were concentrated in the country’s East Coast states, with four in North Carolina having traded for $405K. Brookfield Properties bought 19 properties, including spending a huge total of $208M for 532K square feet in their hometown of New York City.
Harrison Street Real Estate Capital focused their 10 purchases in the Pacific Northwest, acquiring 582K square feet in five Seattle premises for a total of $164M, plus a Bend, Oregon self storage facility for $28K. The most expensive of Prime Group Holdings’ 30 purchases was a Providence-Warwick metropolitan area facility near the town of Swansea for $22M. Connecticut-based Strategic Asset Management spent a similar amount of money on just 10 recently built facilities — only two were completed before 2017 — the priciest costing $39K in the Chula Vista self storage market in the San Diego metro area.
One huge piece of news that will impact future iterations of this list is the upcoming acquisition in 2023 of the second-placed company by the first-placed — after the former had resisted a bid from the third-placed — creating a massive new player in the self storage sector. The much-hyped merger involves Life Storage being purchased by Extra Space Storage in a $12.7B deal.
While both sales volumes decreased slightly in 2022 compared to the year before, 2021 was exceptional for self storage due to issues that had not existed previously. And although storage street rates shot up during 2022, with the national rate for a non-climate-controlled 10’x10’ unit exceeding $130, per Yardi Matrix data, they have been easing and are currently at an average of $127 — the figure was below $120 at the start of 2021. This, and the trajectory of climate-controlled storage, all adds to the impression that the self storage industry is settling well into its new post-pandemic status of increased public appreciation and investor enthusiasm.
- This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation. The data on property sales was taken from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe’s sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors.
- To determine the top cities by total sales volumes and square footage, we looked at a total of 670 US cities for which we had sales data in 2022.
- We have only included transactions in the analysis that had disclosed prices.
- All figures referring to amounts of space concern total square footage of facilities rather than rentable square footage.
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