A RECENT survey conducted in conjunction with the Self Storage Association showed that self-storage space in Liverpool is up to 0.44 sq ft of space per person.
The resilience of the sector in Merseyside prompted us to look further into the Liverpool self-storage market and see what is happening in this less revered yet solid sector.
Since 2006, when the first survey was conducted, the sector has been generally resilient.
This year, occupancy levels are up, rents are stable and customers are keeping their spaces for longer.
Self-storage is not a new area for Liverpool and while new players have entered the market over the last couple of years, established firms are performing the best.
Figures show that the occupancy for facilities that have been open for over five years has risen to 70% from 68% last year.
However, tough competition between new and older firms in the Liverpool area has meant that rents have remained low across the region, as companies use price to entice customers.
While the average billed room rate has fallen slightly to £21.06 per sq ft per annum, growth of the self-storage sector has remained strong and results show that over the period from 2006 to 2011, achieved rents have risen by 7.3%.
Low rents will gain customers in the short term but the quality of facilities and the services offered ensures repeat custom.
Long-term tenants provide a more stable source of income and are therefore more attractive to providers.
In order to keep customers happy, we found that facility maintenance is key, with particular attention paid to security and lighting.
Additional security facilities such as CCTV, which is essential for sites offering 24 hour access and photo identification to gain access, have proved to be worth their investment as firms implementing these services have been able to achieve higher than average rents.
The self-storage market has been stable in Liverpool, but it has struggled to expand.
While larger, national chains have been able to secure investment from insurance companies, smaller local firms have struggled to get credit as banks look to reduce their exposure to the commercial property area.