How do self-storage rates compare across different countries?

As an operator or investor in self-storage you are rightly focused on pricing, rates and competition in and around the locations where you are operating or owning stores. Aside from tracking local rates on a daily basis, you may at times review how your rates compare to the state or national averages, and StorTrack provides you with the insight and information you need to do this.

What you may not know is that StorTrack is an international data service that tracks self-storage rates across the world. For fun (and some useful insight – who knows you may be thinking of international expansion!) we thought we would highlight some comparisons between some of the key countries that have the StorTrack service, in this case the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK.

Unit Sizes and Types

In the USA and Canada, unit sizes are described by the two dimensions and are standardized into a fairly small group of types, with additional features such as the inclusion (or not) of climate control. The most popular unit types are 5×5 (that is, 25 square feet), 5×10 (50 square feet) and 10×10 (100 square feet). As mentioned, the inclusion of climate control is a key feature, and there are also other key features regarding accessibility and security.

In Australia there is a broader mix of unit types and while descriptions are also in two dimensions, the unit of measurement is meters (rather than feet). Unit sizes range from 1×1 (that is 1 square meter or just over 10.5 square feet) to 4×3 (12 square meters, or 130 square feet). StorTrack’s rate monitoring system maps to 15 different unit types for Australian data. Just as in the USA, the addition of climate-control is a key feature, as are security and accessibility features.

In the UK, unit sizes are typically described not by two dimensions but by the actual amount of floor space itself. In other words, by the amount of square feet in the unit. Climate control is not a central feature in the same way as it is in USA, Canada and Australia. The typical unit sizes in the UK are 50 square feet, 80 square feet and 100 square feet. Boxes and containers are more prevalent as products and accessibility and security are important features.

Store Density

By most estimates there are around 38,500 self-storage operations in the USA, the majority of which are still owned and operated by single owners. With a national population of just over 325 million, that means for every 8,468 people there is one self-storage store. This is significantly higher store density than in the other countries, as shown below;

Average Rates

In the charts below we have normalized all unit types into a rate per-square-fee, and mapped all pricing to US Dollars for comparative purposes. These are the average rates nationally for the past twelve months;

Regular Rates

Australia averages 225% higher price per square foot than USA, while UK averages around 60% higher than the US.

Online Rates

Take Aways

The USA is a mature self-storage market where store density is high and rates have been compressed accordingly. The Australian and UK markets are very different – in the UK for example, there are one-tenth of the stores per head of population than in the USA, and one-fifth in Australia. StorTrack will be continuing to monitor and analyze the evolution of these markets over the next few years, but it seems reasonable to predict two things; more stores will come to the market and average rates will start to come down.