Driven by the ‘four Ds,’ self-storage business is booming

More than 75 percent of the world’s self-storage is in the United States. There are nearly 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. The rest of the world has about 15,000 combined, according to the Self Storage Association.

And this summer, St. Louis is getting at least 1 million more square feet of it, give or take.

Demand for self-storage is most often attributed to four major life events that the industry calls “the four Ds”: divorce, death, downsizing or dislocation (i.e. job loss).

“The big driver is change,” said Brad Schwer of Morningstar Equity Research. “In one way or another, people are looking for stability.”

The U.S. has an estimated 2.6 billion square feet of self-storage, according to the Self Storage Association. That’s about 8.1 square feet per person, and that’s growing.

“We’re not sure how long this trend will last. We think maybe we’re at the top of the bell curve,” said Mike Blackett, a senior vice presidents with the Alexandria, Va.-based trade group. “But the demand is there, and facilities are expanding, so you will see some price wars, competition and see who’s left standing.”

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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