NYC dominates self-storage sales in 2021

Manhattan led with $3B StorageMart purchase, $144M of sales in Queens: StorageCafe

Manhattan (iStock)
Manhattan (iStock)

Self storage had a big year in 2021, and nowhere was it bigger than the Big Apple itself.

Manhattan had the biggest self-storage sales volume of 2021 in the country with close to $3 billion transacted, according to StorageCafe. The sales volume marked a massive increase from 2020, when $483 million of self storage was transacted in the borough.

Manhattan wasn’t the city’s only appearance atop the sales rankings. Queens finished third in self-storage sales for the year, seeing more than $144 million in sales. Phoenix was sandwiched between the two boroughs, ranking second with more than $180 million in sales.

Manhattan’s dominance in the rankings was largely due to the sale of the borough’s namesake self-storage provider, Manhattan Mini Storage. In November, StorageMart reached an agreement with Edison Properties to acquire the company and its 18 self-storage facilities for around $3 billion.

In total, about 108 million square feet of self-storage facilities were transacted in 2021, doubling the total from the previous year. Sales volume in the country jumped to $10.9 billion, according to Yardi Matrix data, up at least 161 percent year-over-year.

The pandemic played a big role in the explosion of self storage in 2021, according to Yardi Matrix Self-Storage product specialist Isaac Hiatt.

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“For a number of anecdotal reasons, during the pandemic people found themselves in need of more space in their homes, and self storage was their solution,” Hiatt said in the StorageCafe report.

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Other cities to ranked in the top ten for self-storage sales volume in 2021 include Tampa (fifth with nearly $98 million transacted), Orlando (sixth, $90 million), Millbrae, California in the Bay Area (seventh, $80 million) and Miami (ninth, about $77 million).

StorageMart’s purchase of Manhattan Mini Storage made it the largest buyer of self storage by volume in 2021. The company spent well more than $3 billion in self storage in 2021, easily outpacing Life Storage, which ranked second with $888 million in sales.

Construction continued in the sector in 2021, too. At least 36 million square feet of self-storage space was constructed last year, led by more than 753,000 square feet in Jacksonville. Fort Worth, Miami and San Antonio also ranked in the top ten of self-storage construction for the year.

Hiatt said he foresees a sales cycle ahead for the sector as common issues plaguing construction in other sectors hamper self storage as well.

“In the last few years the industry was in a development cycle, seeing its peak in 2018, but now with new development facing numerous challenges such as labor and supply shortages, those looking to expand their portfolios in either markets where they currently operate or are looking to enter for the first time will take the acquisition route,” Hiatt said.