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As Multifamily Boomed, Houston Added 14M SF Of Self-Storage Over The Last Decade


Developers in Houston have embraced self-storage in a big way over the past decade. The city added 14.1M SF between 2011 and 2020, taking third place on the list of top metros for self-storage construction, according to new data from RentCafé.

That square footage represents an increase of 28% from 2010 inventory levels and is a reflection of how multifamily development is fueling the boom: Houston added 125,000 apartment units during the same period, making it the third-largest market for apartment construction in the country.

Houston’s self-storage market has grown by about 3% each year since 2010, expanding at a similar rate to the local apartment market, according to RentCafé. The city now offers 9.1 SF of storage space per capita, almost double other populous cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Overall, the self-storage sector added 295M SF nationwide between 2011 and 2020, roughly 20% of the total existing inventory in the U.S. That made it the third-most-active decade in the history of self-storage development. 

Only Dallas at 16.2M SF and New York at 15.8M SF added more self-storage inventory than Houston during the period. That also corresponded with their multifamily development, with Dallas adding 173,000 apartments and New York adding 140,000 apartments. 

As Houston has added self-storage inventory, the cost has also come down for users. The average price to rent a 10-foot-by-10-foot storage unit is $86, a decrease of 9% over the past five years, RentCafé found.

Self-storage is often considered recession-resistant, partially due to lower tenant turnover but also because when people choose to downsize, they still need to store their possessions. A JLL analysis found that the self-storage sector accounted for $4.36B in real estate transaction volume in 2020.