Self storage proves to be a resilient sector in the twelfth annual industry survey

The self storage industry has proven to be resilient despite the economic challenges faced last year, according to the 2023 annual survey conducted by the Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) and global commercial property leaders, CBRE.

Over 100 operators representing 1,500+ facilities in 24 different countries participated in the report, covering almost a third of the total market. The report analyses demand and supply trends, as well as operational performance across Europe’s self storage market. It serves as a useful reference for investors and operators by providing insights into public perception and market awareness.

“Europe’s self storage market has 6,929 stores in operation, totalling 13.9 million sq. m in gross area. Currently, the UK dominates by store count with a 32% market share.” – CBRE Research & FEDESSA

Major transactions throughout 2023

Despite increasing uncertainties surrounding capital markets, major transactions and processes have continued in the booming sector.

“Institutional investors continue to deploy capital into the market, REITs are establishing their self storage ownership credentials, while the owner-operator model continues to be successful for many businesses.” – CBRE Research & FEDESSA

In the first half of 2023, there were some significant transactions in the self storage industry. Nuveen Real Estate acquired Easistore, a high-quality self-storage portfolio, while Pithos Capital and Davidson Kempner purchased UK Storage Company. These acquisitions followed a record-setting transaction volume in the previous year.

“Year-to-date 2023 investment volumes are currently at c. €594 million, with a strong pipeline of M&A activity across Europe expected to transact in the next 12 months.” – CBRE Research & FEDESSA

The investment market for 2023-24 remains buoyant, with a large pool of investors competing for a limited number of opportunities.

Despite high interest rates, tougher debt markets, and consumer cost pressures, investors continue to allocate capital to sectors with strong revenue growth and cost-efficient models.

UK & Sweden have the highest public awareness of self storage

As the market grows and more stores open, public awareness naturally increases. When it comes to self storage, awareness varies from country to country. In the UK, 91% of people are aware of self storage. The report indicates that self storage awareness is highest among older age groups, and people under the age of 25 are less likely to use self storage as they have not yet accumulated enough possessions to warrant storage.

A strong development pipeline across Europe

There are 221 stores in the development pipeline across the report sample, 9% of which are either under construction or have planning approved, with a further 41% waiting for planning approval.

“This strong development pipeline shows that operators remain determined to expand their portfolios and have confidence in the industry, despite the increasing costs of construction and delays in the planning process.” – CBRE Research & FEDESSA

Overall, the industry report shows that the self storage industry has continued to perform resolutely, and investor interest remains competitive.

Other Key Findings:
Operators remain optimistic about industry:

  • 68% expecting increases in occupancy
  •  87% expecting improvement in profits

31% of the public have heard of self storage but know nothing about the sector

Online presence of industry is improving:

  • 81% of stores can book online
  • 18% of operators are planning website improvements

26% of stores are remotely managed
73% of operators think sustainability is important

Find out more here on why now the time is to invest in self storage:

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