A Craze for Self Storage: New Development in Chicago More Than Triples in 2022

The pandemic heightened demand for self-storage as people squeezed gyms, play areas and office space into their homes. Now there’s a second boom as people choose to continue to work from home, return to the office, or a combination of the two, making self-storage a long-lasting business.

So much so, that over 131 million square feet of new storage space is planned and under construction around the U.S., a number that would increase existing stock by 9%, according to data from Yardi Matrix. Fifty million square feet are scheduled to deliver this year alone.

In order to gauge which areas are expanding their storage inventory the most, RentCafe looked at a couple hundred of the biggest metros and ranked them based on the total rentable square footage currently planned or under construction.

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, specifically, ranks No. 10 nationally for new self-storage development, representing a little over 5% of its existing inventory, with 2.6 million square feet of space scheduled to come online. This is a 270% increase compared to 2021.

Ninety-one percent of the new self-storage facilities planned for Chicago are located in urban areas. This trend makes sense due to the lack of space that comes with city living, compared to suburban living spaces. The average size of an apartment in the city of Chicago is 750 square feet, according to RentCafe — well below the national apartment average of 882 square feet.

It helps self-storage, too, that people are having to downsize due to rent growth. The average street rate in Chicago is at $114, up 7% year-over-year. It’s a chain reaction. Rising rents leave many residents no choice but to downsize, therefore driving demand for storage outside of the home.

It was also found that Chicagoland expects to have a 5% increase in total supply once all development projects are completed.

Aside from Illinois, Texas’s population continues to grow exponentially, only driving demand for self-storage.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington continues to add new self-storage space to its 72 million-square-foot inventory. Dallas is the third most active self-storage market in the U.S., based on the report, with its new supply pipeline counting over 5.4 million square feet.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ranks No. 16 nationally for new developments, with close to two million square feet of planned and under-construction self-storage space to be added to its 68-million-square-foot inventory.