Good news for self-storage shoppers: it is getting cheaper to rent a self-storage unit.
Prices reached all time highs last year, boosted by an unprecedented surge in demand caused by the pandemic. Now that demand has subsided, storage operators are lowering rates to be more competitive as they seek to fill up empty space at their facilities.
The average monthly cost to rent a self-storage unit in September was $92.06, down 16.5% from the same month a year ago when the average rate was $110.27. The current average is the lowest monthly rate of the last 20 months—a welcome break for anyone needing to rent a self-storage unit that is feeling the pinch everywhere else.
Self-storage rates historically drop during the fall, after the end of summer and back-to-school school rush. During the pandemic these historical trends mostly went out the window, so the current decline in rates marks a return to the seasonal trends of the past.
So far this year, the average self-storage monthly rate was $98.25. That is down about 9.9% from the entire year of 2022.
Average Self-Storage Prices by Unit Size in 2023
Usually larger units are more expensive to rent than smaller units, but cost less on a per square foot basis. Local demand and availability for certain sizes in a market or at a single facility can also affect the price.
The table below shows the year-to-date average rental cost as of October 2023 for the six most popular storage unit sizes. Average prices are calculated using data for storage units rented through SpareFoot.com.
Unit size Avg. Monthly Storage Prices (Jan-October 2023) $/sq.ft. Year-over-year change in cost 5×5 $49.01 $1.96 -12% 5×10 $70.55 $1.32 -12.5% 10×10 $107.87 $1.08 -12.75% 10×15 $139.10 $0.92 -12.4% 10×20 $157.49 $0.77 -11.7% 10×30 $174.75 $0.58 -15%
Storage prices reached record highs in 2022
Last year was a record year for self-storage industry growth according to an analysis of SpareFoot reservation data.
The average price of storage reached $110 per unit per month in 2022. That equated to an average price per square foot of $1.19 per square foot. That’s a 26% increase in self-storage rental rates over four years since 2018:
- 2023 (YTD): $98.25 ($1.04 per square foot)
- 2022: $110 ($1.19 per square foot)
- 2021: $105.33 ($1.12 per square foot)
- 2020: 88.12 ($0.88 per square foot)
- 2019: $86.51 ($0.88 per square foot)
- 2018: $87.26 ($0.92 per square foot)
The chart above shows the average storage prices by year. It shows that prices were declining slightly heading into 2019 from 2018, but the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic reversed the trend and led to steady increases in price starting in 2020 and lasting through the first half of 2022.
Self-storage prices return to seasonality in 2023
Pandemic-driven demand, along with inflation, fueled a surge in self-storage prices over the last two years. Now that the pandemic-driven demand has subsided, storage operators have recently lowered prices in order to lure new tenants to take over recently vacated units. With much of the housing market at a standstill, operators are having to lower rents and increase marketing efforts to fill empty units.
Consumers can likely benefit from lower storage prices through 2023, relative to the previous year. If historical trends hold up, street prices should increase steadily through the summer and decline again in the fall and winter.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Self-Storage
Storage unit prices can vary widely, even within the same market. There are many factors that contribute to the prices offered by any given storage location.
Keep in mind that the average prices above include both climate-controlled and units without climate control. Climate-controlled storage units are generally about 30 to 50 percent more expensive than units without climate control.
There are several other factors that can affect the price of storage units, even within the same market. For example a facility in a rural area will typically be cheaper than a facility in an urban area. When shopping for a storage unit, it is important to consider these additional factors.
Premium Amenities Like Climate Control Cost More
Climate controlled storage units offer better protection for your stored items, as it regulates air temperature and humidity all year-round. Because of the additional costs required to install, maintain and power these systems, you can expect to pay a premium to rent a climate-controlled storage unit.
You can save money by renting a unit without climate-control, however your items will be susceptible to extreme temperatures and high-humidity. This may be fine for the short term storage of durable items, but climate control is strongly recommended when storing valuable and delicate items for long periods of time.
Prices Peak in Summer When Demand is Highest
You can expect to pay more for a storage unit from May to September than you would during the rest of the year. During these months is when most Americans move to new homes, which is a major driver for the storage industry. With the increased demand, storage operators are able to increase prices on their storage inventory. Renting a storage unit during the off-season can save you more money than renting during the peak season.
Larger Self-Storage Units Cost More
Perhaps the greatest determinant of self-storage costs is the size of the unit. Smaller units naturally cost less than larger units. However, larger units should cost less per square foot than a smaller unit.
To find the price per square foot, multiply the size of the unit (10×10=100) to find the total square footage. Then divide your monthly rent by the total square footage. This yields the price per square foot, and can be a useful way to make sure you aren’t being charged more than you should for larger-sized units.
Find Special Discounts to Lower the Cost of Storage
Promotions and specials are very common in the storage industry. Some companies offer first month free deals, for example. When shopping for a storage unit, these promos should be factored into the overall price of a storage unit. Be sure to read the fine print, however, to see if there is a minimum commitment required.
Facilities often offer discounts to groups such as seniors, teachers, students and veterans. These special prices aren’t always advertised, so make sure to ask before signing your rental agreement.
Storage Unit Insurance Coverage Cost
It is important to remember that insurance is not included with the price of storage, most storage facilities require proof of insurance. Often times your homeowners or renters policy will cover your items, but not always. You can typically purchase storage coverage from the facility you are renting from.
Generally speaking, $2,000 of coverage will cost around $10 to $12 a month. Policies can go up to around $30 a month and provide up to $5,000 worth of insurance coverage.
Newly Built Construction in Urban Areas Will Cost More
Another major factor in pricing is the type and location of the storage facility. A facility in a dense urban area will cost more than a facility in a rural area, as there is more consumer demand inside cities and suburban centers.
The type of facility will also affect cost. Age and condition of a facility could also be a factor. Newer, multi-story indoor facilities typically will command a higher price than an older outdoor facility with drive up access.
In addition to climate-control, other amenities can add to the monthly cost of renting a storage unit. For example, a facility with extensive video cameras throughout the property might charge more than a similar facility without video monitoring. Depending on the market, you might also pay a bit more for 24-hour access.
There has been a recent trend towards unmanned facilities that use a kiosk system to handle rentals. These may cost slightly less to rent from than facilities with an onsite manager, as there is less overhead in the form of employee wages.
Other Facility Charges
Depending on where you live, there might be local taxes applied to your monthly storage rent. Also, some facilities might charge a small administration fee on top of the quoted monthly cost.
Full Service Storage vs Traditional Storage
Recently there has been a new storage concept available in some cities called full service storage. Also known as on-demand or valet storage, these new providers advertise that they offer a more convenient option than traditional mini storage. Full service storage companies will pickup your items from your home and place them in a shared warehouse with other customers’ stuff. When you are ready to receive your items, the company will deliver them to your home.
These companies try to price their services to be comparable to the cost of traditional self-storage. However, there is sometimes a delivery fee and a minimum commitment required.
Popular traditional self-storage companies include Public Storage, U-Haul, CubeSmart, Life Storage and Extra Space. However the majority of self-storage facilities are operated by small and medium sized operators.
Average Self-Storage Cost by Location
If you are searching for “storage units near me“, prices will vary widely depending on where you live in the United States. One major factor is the square foot of self-storage per capita available in a market. The lower amount of square footage available per capita, the higher prices you can expect to find. In other words, storage is more expensive in dense urban areas compared to rural and suburban locations.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 02/26/2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The national average monthly cost to rent a storage unit is $108.18 This average includes all sizes and both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units. A 5x5 storage unit on average costs about $55.45 per month. This price includes both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units. The average cost for a 10x10 storage unit is $119.84 per month. A 10x10 storage unit is also the most popular size among renters. A 10x15 storage unit costs on average $154.45 per month, and is considered a large unit since it can hold the entire contents of a one-bedroom house. The national average cost of a 10x20 storage unit is $171.21 a month. A 10x20 unit is considered a very large storage unit, and is generally less commonly booked. A 5x5 and 5x10 unit are considered small storage units and have an average monthly cost between $55 and $79. Large storage units include 10x15, 10x20, and 10x30 and have an average monthly cost between $154 and $246 or more. Larger units are growing in popularity due to increased sales of boats and RVs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Storage Prices
How much does a storage unit cost?
How much does a 5x5 storage unit cost?
How much does a 10x10 storage unit cost?
How much is a 10x15 storage unit?
How much does a 10x20 storage unit cost?
How much is a small storage unit?
How much is a large storage unit?
The national average monthly cost to rent a storage unit is $108.18 This average includes all sizes and both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units.
A 5x5 storage unit on average costs about $55.45 per month. This price includes both climate controlled and non-climate controlled units.
The average cost for a 10x10 storage unit is $119.84 per month. A 10x10 storage unit is also the most popular size among renters.
A 10x15 storage unit costs on average $154.45 per month, and is considered a large unit since it can hold the entire contents of a one-bedroom house.
The national average cost of a 10x20 storage unit is $171.21 a month. A 10x20 unit is considered a very large storage unit, and is generally less commonly booked.
A 5x5 and 5x10 unit are considered small storage units and have an average monthly cost between $55 and $79.
Large storage units include 10x15, 10x20, and 10x30 and have an average monthly cost between $154 and $246 or more. Larger units are growing in popularity due to increased sales of boats and RVs.