Top 10 Emerging Self Storage Markets in 2024

Using Yardi Matrix data, we pinpointed these geographically varied markets poised for improvement.

Once again, we’re looking at the top emerging self storage markets in the U.S., based on previous performance in the sector. The average annualized street rate per square foot was $16.6 nationwide for the combined mix of unit sizes and types, as of December. The street-rate performance continued to be negative, dropping 2.7 percent year-over-year. The nationwide under-construction pipeline included 64.4 million rentable square feet of space under construction and an additional 146.9 million square feet in the planning stages. Based on Yardi Matrix’s forecast, by 2028 developers are expected to add another 189.7 million square feet of storage space.

In the table below, we highlighted the top emerging self storage markets across the U.S. There are a number of Florida metros as the Sunshine State continues to be a major draw. To determine the ranking of these smaller but notable markets we looked at rent growth, development activity and demographic trends.

1.      Jacksonville, Fla.

The Sunshine State has remained among the top three growth states on the recent 2023 U-Haul Growth Index, which assessed one-way U-Haul truck traffic during the previous year. Florida placed second only to Texas, while North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee rounded out the top five.

Among several Florida metros on our list, Jacksonville came in first. In December 2023, the metro’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, up 70 basis points from the December 2022 rate of 2.2 percent according to FloridaCommerce. Based on the same source, Jacksonville added 32,512 new jobs during the same period, marking a 3.8 percent year-over-year increase. Education and health services created the most jobs over the year, adding 9,200 positions.

As of December, Jacksonville’s development pipeline included 22 projects totaling 1.8 million rentable square feet in the planning stages as well as 11 properties underway, encompassing 788,129 square feet. The pipeline amounted to 18 percent of existing inventory. Over the next five years the self storage stock is projected to increase by an additional 2.2 million square feet to undercut any demand for the metro’s growing population.

With a 14.6 million rentable square foot inventory Jacksonville offered residents 10.4 net square feet of available storage space per capita, above the national 7.2 average. Regarding rents, the average annualized rent per square foot for the metro was $15.8 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. This remained below the national average of $16.6 and marked a 2.9 percent annual decrease.

2.      Providence, R.I.

Based on preliminary BLS data, the Providence area unemployment rate clocked in at 3.5 percent in December 2023, merely a 40 basis points change from the 2.7 percent recorded in December 2022. The metro’s labor force increased by 10,832 positions during the same period.

Developers continued to expand Providence’s 7.1 million-rentable-square-foot inventory with 932,330 square feet of storage space under construction as well as 1.2 million square feet in the planning stage as of December. The development pipeline amounted to nearly 30 percent of existing inventory. Completions are forecast to add another 1.9 million rentable square feet of space by 2028.  

There is still room for growth as Providence offered 4.7 net square feet of storage space available per person, well below the national average. Annual street rate growth remained negative in the metro as well. The average annualized same-store rent per square foot stood at $18.5 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. This marked a 5.3 percent drop year-over-year.

3.      Sarasota-Cape Coral, Fla.

Sarasota-Cape Coral had the largest self-storage footprint among the metros on our list amounting to 20.2 million rentable square feet. As of December, the area had 1.9 million square feet of space under construction with an additional 5.9 million square feet in the planning stage. The development pipeline accounted for 39 percent of Sarasota-Cape Coral’s existing inventory.

Despite the robust existing storage inventory of 10.5 net square feet per capita forecasts suggest further robust increases. By 2028 the metro’s inventory is expected to gain 6.8 million rentable square feet of space. Across Sarasota-Cape Coral the average annualized rent per square foot was $16.7 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. Annual street rate growth marked the sharpest yearly decline among the metros on the list, down 8.2 percent.

4.      North Central Florida

During the five-year period between 2019-2023 2.4 million square feet of storage space came online in North Central Florida. While the metro’s total self storage stock added up to 9.2 net square feet available per person developers showed no signs of slowing down. As of December, the development pipeline included 658,643 rentable square feet of space under construction and 2.5 million square feet in the planning stages. The pipeline represented 28.5 percent of existing inventory. Expansion plans over the 2024-2028 period are expected to add another 3.6 million rentable square feet of storage space to North Central Florida’s footprint.

As of December, the metro’s average combined street rates per square foot fell to $15.7, marking a 5.2 percent annual decline. The national average annualized same-store asking rent per square foot was $16.6 for the combined mix of units and types.

5.      Tacoma, Wash.

Tacoma, Wash., is a more affordable option than nearby Seattle propped up with a mix of established industries. Self storage developers continue to add to the metro’s 12.2 million-rentable-square-foot footprint. The new development pipeline included 410,282 square feet of projects under construction and 1.6 million square feet of space in the planning stages. Upcoming projects will continue to grow the 8.6 net square feet available per person. Over the next five years, Tacoma is set for further self storage expansion, with 1.4 million square feet of space expected to come online.

As of December, Tacoma’s average combined street rate per square foot dropped to $17.9 for the combined mix of units and types. This accounted for nearly a 4 percent annual fall, however the rate was above the national average of $16.6.

6.      Reno, Nev.

Reno continued to move away from its gaming-centric economy and persisted in its expansion into other sectors such as logistics, operations, and technology. As of December, Reno’s development pipeline included 284,861 square feet of projects under construction as well as 589,171 rentable square feet in the planning stages. The pipeline amounted to 10.5 percent of existing inventory. Over the next five years self storage developers are expected to add another 774,381 square feet to the metro’s 8.4 million-square-foot inventory.

Reno had 15.3 net square feet available self storage space per person significantly above the national average of 7.2 square feet per capita. The average annualized street rate per square foot for the metro was $15.6 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. The figure was $1 below the national average of $16.6 and marked a 4.3 percent year-over-year drop.

7.      Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville had a self storage stock amounting to 17.5 million square feet, which offered its residents 9.6 square feet per person. The metro’s pipeline included three projects under construction totaling 173,016 square feet and an additional 1 million square feet of space in the planning stages. These projects in various stages of development amounted to 6.9 percent of existing stock. Over the next five years, self storage developers are expected to add 1.2 million square feet of storage space.

The annualized average street rate per square foot clocked in at $15.8 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. This showed a 1.6 percent drop compared to the previous year. While the decrease followed the national softening trend it was also the mildest among the other emerging markets on the list.

8.      Worcester-Springfield

As of December, Worcester-Springfield’s new construction pipeline included 11 projects encompassing 1.1 million rentable square feet. Developers had another 1.1 million square feet of storage space in the planning stages. There is room for growth as the market had only 4.9 net square feet of storage space available per capita, below the 7.2 national figure. Worcester-Springfield’s self storage footprint is projected to grow by 1.4 million square feet over the next five years.

The average annualized street rate per square foot for the metro was $17.3 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. While this marked a 2.2 percent year-over-year drop, the figure was among the few on the list that surpassed the national average.

9.      Boise, Idaho

With 6.9 million square feet of storage space in total, Boise offered 15.7 net square feet of space per person. Despite its per-capita inventory being nearly double the national average construction activity across the metro remained strong. Developers had 1.1 million square feet of storage space underway and an additional 958,192 square feet in the planning stages. The pipeline equaled 17.4 percent of the existing inventory. Expansion plans over the 2024-2028 period include an additional 1.8 million square feet.

Among the ten emerging markets on the list Boise was the most affordable. The average annualized same-store rent per square foot stood at merely $12.6 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. This marked a 2.6 percent fall year-over-year.

10. Pensacola, Fla.

Pensacola had a nearly 11 million-square-foot storage footprint adding up to 13.9 net square feet available per person, above the national average of 7.2. The new development pipeline included 487,160 square feet of space under construction and another 895,423 square feet in the planning stages. These projects in various stages of construction came to 12.6 percent of existing stock. Developers are expected to add another 1.5 million square feet over the next five years.

Regarding rents, the average annualized rent per square foot for Pensacola came to $15 for the combined mix of unit sizes and types. The figure was below the national average of $16.6 and marked a 3.4 percent decrease year-over-year.

Methodology:

Working with Yardi Matrix data, we filtered out all metros with 2 million or more residents, leading to an 87-strong metro list. Then, we decided on a series of significant data points that would separate our emerging self storage markets list. We looked at the population growth rate within a 3-mile radius in 2021 utilizing U.S. Census data. Other data points included in this ranking are: Total completed rentable stock, year-over-year rent increases as of December 2023, completed inventory available per capita, projects under construction and in the planning phases as of December 2023, and forecast completions in 2024-2028. We then compared the 87 markets based on the performance of these data points and eventually assigned them a final score that indicates their position in our ranking.

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