Propelled by robust growth in revenue and occupancy, publicly traded self-storage REITs scored significant gains in same-store NOI during the first quarter of 2021. But one REIT, National Storage Affiliates Trust, topped them all for this measure of profitability.

Same-store NOI at the Greenwood Village, CO-based REIT soared 11.5% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. No other publicly traded self-storage REIT reported double-digit growth in same-store NOI during the quarter.

The company’s first-quarter NOI got a jolt from an 8.1% jump in same-store revenue compared with the first quarter of last year and only a 0.6% rise in same-store property operating expenses.

Better than expected

In light of the lofty first-quarter NOI figure, National Storage Affiliates has raised its same-store NOI outlook for the entire year to a range of 6% to 8% from the previous range of 2.5% to 5%. Likewise, the REIT has bumped up its full-year forecast for same-store revenue growth — from a range of 3% to 4.5% to a range of 5.5% to 6.5%.

“It’s a great time to be in the self-storage business,” Tamara Fischer, president and CEO of National Storage Affiliates, said in a May 4 news release announcing the REIT’s first-quarter results.

Indeed, the REIT notched a great same-store occupancy rate in the first quarter: 93.8% as of March 31, up 690 basis points versus the same point last year.

Closing deals

So far, National Storage Affiliates is enjoying a great year for acquisitions, too — more than $370 million worth of deals closed thus far. For all of 2021, National Storage Affiliates foresees making $500 million to $650 million in acquisitions.

“We continue to see meaningful competition for transactions, and the amount of capital seeking to establish or expand the position in self-storage is driving cap rate compression, especially on larger portfolios,” Fischer said May 5 on the company’s first-quarter earnings call. “Fortunately for us, though, about two-thirds of our closed deals this year were either off-market or from our captive pipeline, where we tend to buy at slightly above-market cap rates.”

John Egan