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Storage woes as hot housing market creates lack of self-storage units

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Another supply shortage, fueled not only by COVID-19, but by a hot housing market. Storage units around Southern Arizona are tough to come by now—many near or at capacity.

Ylaena Jumper, with Northwest RV and Self-Storage, walks the property every day. They have more than 300 units and spaces—and every single one is full. They’ve even made extra space for cars or RVs, trying to help desperate clients out. She said they started filling up back in March 2020, when RV sales went through the roof, and people needed a place to put them.

“I could not keep an empty spot for 20 minutes,” said Jumper. “As soon as it was out, I had ten people fighting for the spot.”

Now, self-storage is the hot ticket. Jumper said clients call to get a spot immediately, but they have been 100 percent full for 60 days, plus they have a waiting list. It’s the same all around town, many storage businesses we spoke with said the same thing.

“People are going to have to go to Casa Grande, Florence, other places,” said Jumper.

There are likely several reasons why, but the housing market seems to be the main player. Houses are selling so fast, people don’t have another place to move, so they have to store, people may be downsizing or moving into multi-family housing to save money.

“Everywhere you turn, houses are still selling very quickly, prices are still escalating, multiple offers are still coming in,” said Randy Rogers, CEO Tucson Association of Realtors. “It trickles down to the storage units. The various types of storage, all those are full, PODs are full, moving companies—you’re a month plus, if not longer, from being able to get a mover.”

The Tucson Association of Realtors said people are paying 103 percent of asking prices for homes. Like anything in high demand, prices rise—and it’s no different for storage units. Prices have just under doubled in the last three years where Jumper works. It’s her job to look at other’s rates, and she said it’s the same across the board.

“It’s not just driving the housing market, it’s driving the rent market, self-storage, RV’s, everything,” she said. “This market is growing astronomically, and I don’t know where the end in sight is, honestly. It’s going to continue to grow until something changes.”

The Tucson Association of Realtors said there are still fewer than 1,000 homes on the market in the Tucson area, with many buyers coming from all over the West coast and the Mid-West.

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