UK self storage market progress

JLL tracks the growth of the UK’s self storage sector

May 11, 2021

The UK is one of Europe’s most mature self storage markets in terms of supply but still lags behind markets like the US and Australia. Our team is often asked whether the UK still has room for growth? Whilst there is significant room for growth operators and investors need to make well informed decisions with the use of better data.

The availability of data of the self storage industry in Europe also lags what is available in more developed markets like the US and better insight to the market is needed through improved data and analysis. Mapping out all self storage and container facilities in the UK other key European countries is key to understanding the fundamentals of the growing sector. By the end of 2018 JLL estimated that there was round 0.8 sq. ft. per capita and by the end of 2020 this had grown to just over 1 sq. ft. per capita. These figures include container storage which has shown significant growth over the period, with the number of container storage sites increasing by more than 50%. 

All of the regions in the UK have seen double digit growth from the previous measurement in 2018 to the end of 2020 in terms of the number of self storage and container sites added during the period. The North East and Northern Ireland have witnessed the number of facilities more than double although these regions are the regions with the least supply, so the measurement is from a low base. At the end of 2020 there were four regions in the UK with a supply over 1 sq. ft. per person.

Our latest data on average rental rates show that the West Midlands, London and the North East have seen consistent rental rate growth over the period from 2016 to 2020. London continues to record the highest single rental rate recorded per annum which in most years are over £50 per sq ft. The regions that have shown the biggest improvement in the highest rental rate recorded include the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The South East, after London, has the highest supply and the impact on rental rate growth can be seen in our data as the average rental rate seems to be on a downward trend in the South East. London seems to be less affected by the higher levels of supply and our data shows that the average rental rate has been on an upward trend since 2016.

These mapping capabilities allows us to overlay population density and affluence levels over our self storage facility map as shown above. The red dots represent self storage facilities and the black dots containerised facilities. The heat map shows population density which can be viewed on a catchment level providing more detail than the map above can show. This, along with our insight into the performance of the sector give our clients insights into the prospects of the local markets that they operate or invest in. This greatly helps to make our valuations relevant and our advice insightful. 

JLL has in-house services which can provide advice of debt financing and corporate structures. Along with the specialist knowledge of the self storage sector we can provide a one stop shop for both investors and operators who want to grow in the sector.

For more information contact Izeldi Loots