December 11, 2023

Self Storage Cap Rate: A Guide for Real Estate Investors

A businessman analyzing self storage business data.

Are you seeking a lucrative investment opportunity in the real estate sector? Self-storage properties might be the answer you’re looking for! Understanding the role of cap rates in self-storage investments is crucial for evaluating profitability, comparing properties, and assessing risk. Get ready to unlock the secrets of cap rate self-storage and embark on a potentially rewarding investment journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Cap rate is a financial metric used to assess the potential profitability of self-storage investments.
  • Factors such as location, property condition, management and perceived risk influence cap rates.
  • Strategies for improving cap rates include value add improvements and increasing occupancy through effective marketing strategies.

Understanding Cap Rates in Self Storage

As a real estate investor, you may have come across the term “cap rate” when assessing the potential of self-storage properties. Evaluating profitability, contrasting properties, and gauging risk in self-storage investments can be effectively done by analyzing cap rates. Besides, taking into account factors like mortgage payments and operational efficiency can provide a holistic view of this investment opportunity.

What is a cap rate?

A cap rate, or going in cap rate, is a financial metric used to evaluate the return on investment of real estate assets. It’s calculated as the ratio of net operating income (NOI) to market value. The cap rate is indicative of the rate of return on the purchase price of a property, as well as the amount of income generated for that price. Net operating income is determined by subtracting expenses from income, which should accurately reflect the expenses of a typical operator. Depreciation and loan payments are not included in the net operating income calculation.

The cap rate has an inverse relationship with the property value of self-storage assets, as a lower cap rate corresponds to a higher price. Investors find it beneficial in assessing the property’s future income generation potential and investment value. Generally, buyers prefer a higher cap rate, as it implies a lower purchase price. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that cap rate isn’t the sole factor in evaluating a self-storage investment.

Factors influencing cap rates

Several factors can influence cap rates, such as location, property condition, management, and perceived risk. Location can have a considerable effect on the cap rate of a self-storage facility, with factors like proximity to populated areas, competition, and local economic conditions playing a role.

The condition of a storage facility can significantly affect its cap rate. A well-maintained and attractive property is likely to have a higher cap rate, as it can command higher rental rates and attract more tenants. Efficient operations, effective marketing and tenant retention strategies, and proper maintenance and upkeep of the facilities can positively impact cap rates.

Calculating Cap Rates for Self Storage Properties

Cap rates for self-storage properties can be calculated by determining the net operating income (NOI) and market value. The formula for calculating cap rates in real estate investment is the division of the property’s net operating income by the current market value of the property.

Grasping the calculation of cap rates equips investors with insight into the potential return on investment for self-storage properties.

Net operating income

Net operating income (NOI) is a key component of cap rate calculations for self-storage properties. It’s calculated by subtracting expenses from income, thus providing an indication of the expenses of a normal operator. Dividing net operating income by the cap rate gives the property’s value.

NOI typically includes:

  • Tenant rents
  • Parking fees
  • Vending machine revenues
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance fees
  • Other related costs.

Calculating NOI allows investors to:

  • Get a clearer view of the property’s income-generating potential
  • Evaluate the property’s overall value
  • Make informed decisions when evaluating self-storage investments
  • Ensure they select properties with the best potential for success.

Market value

The market value of a self-storage property is determined by considering various elements, including:

  • Physical and economic occupancy
  • Net operating income (NOI)
  • Pro forma performance
  • Demographics
  • Traffic count and visibility
  • Size of the unit
  • Location
  • Length of stay
  • Amenities
  • Access

These factors help estimate the price that a property would likely sell for in the current market.

A thorough analysis of these factors enables investors to ascertain if the property is poised for success in the current market. When combined with cap rate analysis, this information provides a comprehensive picture of the potential return on investment for self-storage properties, helping investors make informed decisions.

Analyzing Cap Rates: High vs. Low

High and low cap rates have different implications for self-storage investments. High cap rates indicate a higher rate of return on the investment, leading to a faster payback time in self-storage investments. This is due to the fact that the property generates more income relative to its purchase price, allowing investors to recoup their initial investment more quickly. With self storage cap rates in mind, investors can better understand the potential returns on their investments.

Low cap rates suggest lower returns due to their indication of a lower rate of return on the investment, implying that the property yields less income in comparison to its purchase price.

High cap rates

High cap rates may be more attractive to investors seeking quick returns. However, they can also indicate higher risk or less desirable properties due to factors such as unfavorable location, low occupancy, or limited amenities. Investors expect a higher return to balance out these risks.

Some investors who pursue high cap rate self-storage properties include institutional investors seeking steady cash flow, experienced lenders, and private equity real estate investors. These investors are drawn to the potential for higher returns on their investment in the self storage asset class.

Low cap rates

Low cap rates indicate a lower risk profile for the investment property and are generally considered to be less than 5%. Properties with low cap rates have more predictable cash flow streams and are perceived as having a lower risk level. Investors can justify low cap rates if they have a plan to increase revenue quickly or add value to the property.

To remain competitive in the self-storage market, investors can consider the following strategies:

  1. Formulating a comprehensive plan
  2. Conducting market research
  3. Improving digital presence
  4. Providing additional services
  5. Concentrating on customer experience

Strategies for Improving Cap Rates

Boosting cap rates in self-storage investments can be accomplished by implementing value-add improvements and ramping up occupancy. By enhancing the quality of a self-storage asset and implementing effective strategies for improvement, investors can increase the property’s value and generate higher returns.

Value-add improvements

Value-add improvements include enhancing security, upgrading technology, and improving management. Strengthening security at a self-storage property can have a positive effect on its cap rate by mitigating risks, lowering insurance premiums, minimizing maintenance costs, attracting more tenants, and allowing for higher rental rates.

Upgrading technology in self-storage properties can have a beneficial effect on the cap rate. By deploying automation technologies and making wise upgrades, the NOI of the property can be augmented, resulting in a lower cap rate.

Increasing occupancy

Increasing occupancy can be achieved through effective marketing, competitive pricing, and offering desirable amenities such as premium security features, digital conveniences, niche-friendly features tailored to specific storage needs, and attention-grabbing attractors like play areas for children or community rooms.

Employing these strategies can help self-storage property owners:

  • Draw more tenants
  • Escalate occupancy rates
  • Enhance cap rates
  • Increase the value of the property
  • Maximize the return on investment for the owner.

Evaluating Self Storage Investments Beyond Cap Rates

Evaluating two self storage properties investments goes beyond cap rates, with operational efficiency and market trends playing a crucial role in determining the potential success of an investment.

Taking these factors into account, along with cap rates, is vital for a holistic understanding of the investment opportunity and making informed decisions.

Operational efficiency

Operational efficiency can be improved by addressing management issues, streamlining processes, and optimizing expenses. Effective management practices are crucial for optimizing efficiency and maximizing profitability in self-storage facilities.

Implementing technological solutions can also enhance operational efficiency in the self-storage business, particularly for storage units.

Market trends and competition

Market trends and competition should be analyzed to ensure the property is well-positioned for success in the current market. Staying informed of market trends and adjusting strategies accordingly is essential for maximizing profitability.

By considering factors such as demand and occupancy rates, competition, and economic factors, investors can make informed decisions about the potential success of a self-storage investment.

Case Study: Successful Self Storage Investment with Cap Rate Analysis

A case study showcasing a successful self-storage investment using cap rate analysis is Blue Vista’s investment in self-storage and Brookfield’s investment in Simply Self Storage. These investments demonstrate the importance of considering multiple factors and implementing effective strategies for improvement in addition to cap rate analysis.

The investors managed to maximize cap rates and achieve success in the self storage industry through their self-storage investments by employing a combination of:

  • Market analysis
  • Rental rate adjustments
  • Tenant retention prioritization
  • Offering value-added services
  • The introduction of online marketing and technology solutions.


In conclusion, understanding cap rates in self-storage investments is crucial for evaluating profitability, comparing properties, and assessing risk. However, it’s essential to consider factors like operational efficiency and market trends as well. By implementing effective strategies such as value-add improvements and increasing occupancy, investors can improve cap rates and maximize the return on their self-storage investments. Now that you’ve unlocked the secrets of cap rate self-storage, you’re better equipped to make informed decisions and embark on a potentially rewarding investment journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cap rate in storage?

Cap rate in storage is a percentage depicting the anticipated annual return on investment of a self-storage facility, calculated by dividing net operating income (NOI) by the property's market value or asking price.

What is the implied cap rate for self storage REITs?

The data from NAREIT Total REIT Industry Tracker Series (T-Tracker®) indicates that the self-storage REIT sector's implied cap rate was 5.8% in the second quarter of 2023, while the residential sector followed at 6.1%.

What is the expense ratio for self storage?

The expense ratio for self storage is around 30%-40%, meaning that 30%-40% of the earned revenue is used to pay the business's fixed and operating expenses.

What is the cap rate for self storage in Texas?

Self storage in Texas has experienced an average cap rate of 7.09% over the past 10 years, peaking at 10.52% in 2012. Currently, the average cap rate for 2021 is 5.79%, reflecting increased demand in the market.

What is a cap rate and how is it calculated for self-storage properties?

A cap rate is a measure of the return on investment for real estate assets, calculated by dividing net operating income by market value. In self-storage properties, this is done by taking the NOI and dividing it by the market value.

©2023 BusinessBolt®. All rights reserved.