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Rapid population growth lifts self storage in Portland

PORTLAND, Oregon—The largest city in Oregon, known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, has been in the spotlight recently for another reason—real-estate growth, particularly in the self storage sector.

The Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is the 23rd most populous MSA in the United States with a population of just less than 2.4 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last year. That figure represented 35% growth over the last 15 years. This explosive growth in population coupled with other economic events has exerted upward pressure on the real-estate market, and subsequently caused  a housing crisis. With more people cramped into smaller spaces, many residents have opted to store their belongings in self storage spaces, hence increasing the demand for self storage facilities in Portland.

As market conditions develop, STR, a leading provider of data and information services, analyzed its database to provide an in-depth look at the impact of new self storage supply entering the Portland market.

There are 254 open and operating self storage facilities in the Portland market with 54% chain-affiliated and 46% managed independently. Public Storage has the largest chain presence in the Portland market followed by Northwest Self Storage.

Portland’s open and operating self storage facilities have an estimated average size of 42,000 net rentable square feet (NRSF) with an average number of five buildings per facility. The largest open facility in Portland tracked by STR is a facility with 18 total buildings and slightly more than 170,000 NRSF. The city of Portland represents 50 of the market’s open facilities (19 % of the total MSA), while Vancouver has 43 open facilities (17% of the total MSA). 

Presently, STR is tracking a total of 34 self storage projects at various stages of development in Portland. This total includes projects in different phases of planning, final planning, construction or expansion. Of these projects, 29 are new construction and five are expansions. As a comparison, we estimate that 30 facilities in total opened in the Portland market from 2012-16. The average size of a facility under development in Portland is approximately 70,000 NRSF, and the largest project in the market is a facility with an estimated 114,000 NRSF. With market conditions boosting demand for self storage facilities, STR expects around half of these development projects to be completed in in the next year. 

Should all 34 self storage projects in Portland be completed, STR expects that 2.3 million NRSF could enter the Portland market. Assuming all tracked projects were completed, this would represent a 22% increase in the market’s NRSF.

If you have an interest in purchasing a listing of these facilities under development or existing facilities in markets across the United States, please contact STR at ssinfo@str.com.

About the authors

Anne Hawkins leads new business initiatives in the Sector Analysis division of STR. She is responsible for managing and implementing all aspects of sales and operations across this division. Previously, Anne worked in private equity and investment banking.  Anne can be reached at ahawkins@str.com or +1 (615) 824 8664 x.3341. 

Kwabena (Kobe) Akuffo Owoo is a Research Analyst at STR.  He can be reached at kakuffoowoo@str.com or +1 (615) 824 8664 x.3009.