Why is self storage business so much smaller in Europe (or anywhere outside US)?

5 million's picture
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The table (worldwide comparison) I attached is a bit dated, but I'm not sure how the proportions changed, but basically self storage space per capita in Europe (exl UK) is ~90 times smaller than in US. UK has around ~50% of self storage space in Europe and yet per capita self storage space is still 15 times larger in US. In Germany there is ~150 less self storage space per capita. (see the table I attached, this is 2015 data from European Association)

Does anyone have any idea why the market is so much smaller than in US?

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Oct 11, 2016

people dont buy that much crap there

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Oct 11, 2016

there is less real estate in those countries and generally, self storage is not the most optimal use of real estate (storing/ hording crap you don't need/use).

If you want to validate my assumption above, I would look at acreage per capita. I would imagine there is a correlation between countries with high total acreage per capita and storage space per capita.

just my $.02

Oct 11, 2016

I tend to agree with this analysis. Land in the United States is generally abundant, and where it's not abundant in the U.S. you'll see less self-storage. For example, you'll see the exurbs and suburbs, with abundant land, with massive self-storage facilities while the urban areas/cities pursue more valuable uses/pressing needs. Europe, with its less land abundance, is targeting its limited land to meet more pressing needs than storage.

With that said, I think this dynamic is bound to change in the near(ish) future. I have background in multifamily, retail, office, hotel, for-sale residential, and, yes, self-storage, and from my observation--at least in my market--self-storage can be far more profitable than, say, office or multifamily uses. In my area, self-storage costs a fraction of what it costs to build apartments, rent is close to the same price PSF as apartments, and operating expenses are markedly lower (also, capital expenditures are way lower than with other uses and there are, of course, no TIs, no LCs, no PIPs, no 10-year renovations, etc.). With the gorgeous, hip new self-storage facility designs, neighborhood opposition to new storage facilities will eventually start to wane and you're going to see more storage SF per capita in the urban areas as time goes on.

Oct 12, 2016
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