Sep 1, 2022 - News

Self storage rates skyrocket in Tampa Bay

Illustration of a self-storage unit with boxes creating an upwards bar chart.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Monthly rents for self-storage space in Tampa Bay have risen to record highs over the past three years, and we're feeling the pain.

  • Bill Feininger rented a unit in August 2020 for $112 monthly. Two years later, he pays $218 a month.
  • Yuki Jackson's unit in Tampa went from $68 in September 2020 to $122 today.
  • Steve Terp got one in May 2020 for $153 a month. Two years later: $248.

What's happening: Self-storage rental rates soared in the Sunbelt cities that have attracted remote workers during the pandemic, according to a national report from Yardi Matrix.

  • Demand for storage shot up as people cleaned out their homes, and as more families flocked to cities like Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
  • Investors noticed and started buying up storage units and building new facilities as fast as they could to meet the new demand.

Yes, but: The investors also started jacking up rates, forcing renters to put a price on the hassle of moving all their stuff to another facility, where the rate would probably increase as well.

  • "Since everybody's on a month-to-month lease, on 30 days notice you can raise the rent by any amount you want," a self-storage investor named Nick Huber says in a popular YouTube tutorial.

Case in point: One reader told Axios he downsized his home and rented a storage unit to save money. But after several rate increases, he's now paying more than if he'd stayed.

Data: Yardi Matrix; Chart: Axios Visuals

What to watch: After several quarters of crazy growth, the rise in rental rates was more moderate from July to August, per the Yardi Matrix report.

  • In Tampa, the average rate didn't budge month to month, signaling potentially good news for renters. Experts say the rates tend to mimic the patterns of the housing market, which is cooling here.

What they're saying: "Most of the markets are doing very well, but things are slowing down," Jeff Adler, vice president of Yardi Matrix, said yesterday on a market outlook conference call. "They're performing well in a decelerating fashion."

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