UK crowned the self-storage capital, with 47 per cent of the total European share

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Per, The Self-Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report (2017) just one per cent of the UK population currently use self-storage facilities and a further five per cent are considering it as an option.

However, this has not spoiled the demand in Europe; which now holds 3,104 self-storage facilities, totalling more than 90m sq. ft. of space.

The industry is rapidly growing, yet, despite the growth in the number of self-storage facilities, more than 85 per cent can be found in just six countries.

Over the past 12 months, notable growth has been witnessed in Germany, France, Spain and Sweden in particular. Currently, the UK holds the largest self-storage market (1,432 facilities), 47 per cent of the total European share, followed closely by France (340), Spain (305) and the Netherlands (284.)

The UK also holds the greatest number of new storage units opening.

In fact, it is estimated the industry added 1.7m sq. ft. of space last year, around 25 per cent of which was added through expansion of existing stores, or the fitting out of previously unused space.

To date, there are 1,432 self-storage sites in the UK – offering approximately 42.2m sq. ft. of space.

Household Use

Certainly, it may appear we – or the self-storage industry itself - are suspect about the space offered in our homes.

After all, research from Cambridge University did find that the UK’s newly built homes, at an average of 76 sq. m, are the smallest by floor area in all of Europe - and 55 per cent of UK dwellings fall short of the accepted internal space standard entirely.

What’s more, further research by Riba found that more than half of the new homes under construction are too small to meet the needs of the people who buy them.

Though the housing White Paper published earlier this year suggests the government plans to review the current space standards in homes, as part of ensuring consumers are offered a wider and more affordable choice, it is apparent that currently there is a struggle for space taking place.

Reasons for Using Self-Storage

Per ONS, 79 per cent of the UK’s population live in a house and 21 per cent live in a flat or apartment.

Whilst one may presume it is those living in flats and apartments who are most likely to be pushed for space, and therefore more likely to consider the use of self-storage – as 31 per cent do – it is also a huge concern for those in houses.

The desire for self-storage services in semi-detached homes stands at 26 per cent; for terraced 17 per cent, and remains high even for larger, detached properties, at 20 per cent.

This being the case, sellhousefast.uk decided to consider the reasons why property owners are interested in the use of self-storage facilities, as the answer to their space-saving qualms.

A healthy 40 per cent of home-owners gave the simple answer of: there is no room for items at residence and, though 21 per cent say they are moving and find themselves in-between properties, a further 11 per cent claim they need to create more space in the family home. 

Other Considerations

Sell House Fast also decided to identify other considerations made by consumers when debating how to handle the overflow of their excess items. Self-storage units aside, the top two considerations were: a free option (16 per cent) such as the use of a parent’s or friend’s home, followed by the renting of a local garage (13 per cent.) 

For those who decide self-storage is the way forward, 89 per cent will rent one unit and up to 11 per cent will choose to rent multiple units.

Robby Du Toit, MD of Sell House Fast said: “Though just one per cent of the UK population currently makes use of self-storage, it is apparent by the sheer number of the facilities already existing and continuing to arise, that there is a space concern, in 2017.

“The fact that the UK stands at the forefront of self-storage, with a massive 1,432 facilities at hand, also echoes sentiments of the housing crisis here in the UK.

“The houses built are not big enough; they are often not accessible to the majority, and even when they are, they are not fit for purpose.

“More needs to be done to police this issue – as we all know. But, at least there are alternative options available to us, should we need the service.”

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