Across Montana, self-storage operators continue to see full facilities. In turn, these facilities have been able to increase rents. Tracked markets showed year-over-year rent growth, an essential indicator of strong demand.
Though rents are going up, Montana enjoys relatively low self-storage fees. The average non-climate storage unit rents for $.71 per square foot, about half the national average of $1.40 per square foot per industry research. Many self-storage customers need a unit because they are either moving or downsizing.
That’s especially true in Montana, where the population is both rising and migrating around the state. Many new residents are leasing apartments before buying homes and need extra space to store large items, just as the large population of older adults looks to downsize in their new empty nests.
For residents, storage units became essential during the pandemic as garages and extra rooms were cleared out to make way for home offices. These home offices appear to have staying power and, as a result, stored items stay put for longer. Adding to the demand for self-storage in Montana are second homeowners. That group is significant in the Kalispell market, driving high demand for off-season RV, boat, and other toy storage.
The RV industry saw record sales in 2020 and 2021, driving demand for off-season storage facilities as per RV Business and Marcus & Millichamp’s research.
While Kalispell and Missoula are seeing deliveries of new units, they have had little impact on tempering high occupancy rates. Most facilities still have waitlists. Delays in material shipments and a lack of labor are slowing the production of new facilities across America.