307 million Americans—all of them, that is— “could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing,” according to the Self Storage Association.
2-3% is the nationwide drop in self-storage facility occupancy since the recession began.
"The down economy has clearly created circumstances in which some people desperately need to rent storage units—namely, people losing their homes. But more significantly, it seems to be upsetting a longstanding equilibrium—a kind of psycho-financial inertia that has kept so many tenants in place." —from a Sept. 2 New York Times Magazine article about the storage-unit industry
During the housing boom, America's self-storage companies partook in the developing hoopla and added approximately 480 million square feet from 2004-2005, according to the nonprofit trade group the Self Storage Association.
But as America's housing market flounders along with so many desperate homeowners—one US home forecloses every 13 seconds—the self-storage industry continues to fare relatively well.
"The self-storage industry generally is recession-resistant," Timothy J Dietz, vice president of communications and government relations at SSA, says.
That's due in part to the many roles self-storage plays in American lives: It can represent excess, frugality and transition. Many Americans opt to keep their possessions even after losing a place to put them.
"The industry is seeing a lot of turnover, a lot of move-ins and a lot of move-outs," Dietz says.
In Santa Fe, Aztec Self Storage and Santa Fe Self Storage's occupancy is down approximately 2 percent—according to Forrest Thomas, managing member of owner Thomas Properties. While some folks relinquish their rentals "to trim expenses," there are many "who stay in the facility but move to smaller units," Thomas says.
Celia Baca of A-Poco Storage on Henry Lynch Road has seen a recession-driven uptick in business over the last two months. "People are downsizing and moving, and using units for household items," Baca says. "For the nation I could see how [occupancy] might be down because many luxury items are being reduced, but here in Santa Fe, I think, with our high cost of living, people are forced to downsize; they are also forced to get rental units."