After a period of slowed growth during the U.S. housing crisis, self-storage has bounced back -– largely because it was already better insulated against economic forces than the housing market.
The subprime mortgage crisis caused a wave of foreclosures, meaning families needed places in which to store their possessions. The $22 billion industry has a remarkably low barrier to entry, with 90 percent of self-storage companies owned by small-business entrepreneurs.
According to the Self Storage Association, there are 2.21 billion square feet of self-storage in this country. That means there are more than 7 square feet of storage per U.S. resident.
By the numbers:
Percentage of self-storage companies owned by entrepreneurs, according to the Self Storage Association: 90
Expected growth in 2009 revenue for "storage and warehouse leasing," according to IBISWorld: 2.5 percent
Expected annual industry revenue increase growth rate in the four years to 2014, according to IBISWorld: 3.3 percent
Percent of Americans that could stand in U.S. self storage facilities at the same time: 100
CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.