Storage units saw unprecedented business due to the pandemic

Self-storage has boomed since the onset of the pandemic, resulting in higher rent, less empty space, and rising stocks, per The Wall Street Journal.

The industry’s 4 largest companies — Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, Life Storage and CubeSmart — have reached 95%+ occupancy. The average monthly rent hit $155.65 in November — the highest in 5 years.

Meanwhile, Extra Space Storage’s shares are 2x more valuable than they were pre-pandemic.

What’s causing this?

Several things, including:

  • People who want extra space for home offices, gyms, etc.
  • Remote workers who moved
  • Businesses with extra inventory
  • Businesses that ditched offices to save on rent

In addition to 5 public companies, there are also 30k+ storage owners operating ~55k facilities in the US, per The New York Times.

The business is appealing due to its low overhead and tenants who often stay put, even when rent increases by 10%.

And when tenants don’t pay, their units’ contents are auctioned off

While bidders typically don’t know what exactly is in a unit, flipping units can be a decent side hustle — hence the premise of the “Storage Wars” franchise.

Some of the weirdest buyer finds include:

  • A 1976 Lotus Esprit used in the Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The unit was purchased for $100 in 1989. Elon Musk later bought the car for ~$1m.
  • The 1st Superman comic, which someone stole from Nicolas Cage in 2000.
  • A mummified leg, which turned into a legal drama between the leg’s original owner and the buyer who wanted to keep it. Yes, there is a documentary about this.

Sure, why not?

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