The Impact Of College Towns On Self-Storage Demand

There are roughly 5,300 colleges and universities in the U.S., and they’re spread out over all 50 states. There is a huge following with these establishments of higher learning for football and other sports, but there’s also a following among smart storage owners. College towns have always been good locations for self-storage facilities. But why is that?

Annual student storage needs

The first thing you think of with college towns is that you have a whole lot of people that go home every summer – literally tens of thousands of them at the largest universities. Of course, as part of that return home for summer they have to store their belongings. This one factor has always made college towns an attractive location for storage facilities. It’s a perpetual force for storage demand.

Strong employment and materialism

College towns are known to have strong employment, both from the university but also from the other employers that rely on college graduates, such as medical schools and hospitals, and high-tech start-ups. This strong employment in high-paying positions leads to higher levels of consumption and materialism and demand for storage to store those goods

A commerce center

College towns are typically the incubator of everything aggressive in that market, such as retail, finance and lodging. They simply have a lot going on. Studies have shown that three drivers to economic fortitude are state capitals, county seats, and colleges. They always are the place where businesses want to locate and are championed by strong chambers of commerce.

Higher real estate values means lower chance of additional supply and greater demand for space

College towns historically top the charts on housing prices in their region. And this has two great attributes for storage investors. The first is a higher price for land, which reduces the chances for over-building of new storage properties since it’s harder to make the numbers tie together. In addition, in areas with high real estate prices there is more pressure on homeowners (and renters) to store their excess stuff rather than take up very expensive and scarce space inside their home.


College towns are strong self-storage markets. They have many positive attributes that make demand strong and markets thrive. There’s more to college towns than football games and bookstores – there’s also self-storage success.

Frank Rolfe has been an active self-storage investor for around two decades, with self-storage units in many states throughout the U.S. His nuts and bolts knowledge of what makes for a successful self-storage facility has led to a three-decade career without a single failed property.