20 Aug Construction of Micro-Apartments Increases New York City Self Storage Rentals
By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com
The self storage industry in New York City is no stranger to the area’s fast-paced, crowded lifestyle. According to our data, self storage facilities in the 10001 (Midtown) and 10031 (Harlem) zip codes have seen occupancy rates of 99.5 percent or higher since 2013 and are approaching the same figures in 2014 due to the ever-growing population.
But it’s not simply because people are moving into these areas that’s led to the rise in storage use. The recent construction of micro-housing—apartments that typically aren’t bigger than 300 square feet—also contribute to consistent unit rentals.
Gea Elika, principal broker with Elika Associates, which is dedicated to helping buyers make smart investments when purchasing New York apartments or townhouses, says the demographic being drawn to these micro-housing units are typically first-time buyers between the ages of 20-30.
“New York City and micro-apartments are the perfect match,” says Elika. “We have a mix of buyers interested in micro-housing, from parents seeking options for their children [who] are either in university or new in the work force, as well as investors seeking to capitalize on the rental market.”
Elika explains that micro-apartments are studio apartments that have been refined, rebranded, and glorified. The demand for these types of apartments has grown over the last decade, too.
“Due to the high cost of living in New York, micro-apartments are a natural fit. The refined studio apartment is better throughout and appointed with smart finishes and smart storage to maximum living in a small space,” he says.
Adam Sank, communication manager with Edison Properties, a real estate company that operates Manhattan Mini Storage among other residential and commercial properties in New York, agrees with Elika that micro-housing is something New York residents have become accustomed to seeing when looking for a place to call home.
“In many ways, these micro-apartments are a continuation of what we’ve already been seeing,” says Sank. “Most people who live in New York City live in a studio apartment—or, if they’re lucky, a one-bedroom apartment. There is limited space for items that aren’t essential day-to-day. Every square inch of space is precious.”
Though Sank has lived in New York for more than 20 years now, he says that the ways people are able to adapt to small living spaces like micro-apartments still astonish him. “Micro-housing is really a way to provide affordable housing. For New Yorkers, most would tell you that location and price are more important than living in a big apartment.”
One of those adaptations? Downsizing possessions, a thought that can sometimes frighten people who move into New York from more spacious cities, yet it’s something that every New Yorker does in order to live somewhere they can afford.
This is where self storage rentals come into the picture. By reserving a self storage unit, Manhattan residents don’t have to worry about getting rid of particular items or having to go without just because they currently live in a home that doesn’t have the necessary space.
“When you get married [for example], you get gifts that you want to keep for a lifetime, but until you buy that big house in the suburbs, you’re not going to keep your china in a studio apartment,” Sank explains. “Those space limitations make self storage more important than ever before.”
Sank says a lot of storage consumers in Manhattan use local storage facilities to store seasonal wardrobe items and equipment that aren’t being used on a daily basis, too.
“Winter boots and everything like that takes up space,” he says. “In the winter, that stuff comes out, and the summer stuff goes in. [Manhattan Mini Storage is] busy year-round, but especially in the spring and summer since that’s when people move and relocate. We’re consistently busy with individuals storing items temporarily or long-term.”
“Everyone who purchases Manhattan real estate must compromise in one way or another,” adds Elika. “A recent client [of Elika Associates] purchased a micro-apartment for her brother who will be studying in New York. Being a single person, the apartment they bought features a smart design that includes a lot of storage space to accommodate his needs. Larger items, such as bikes, golf clubs, and extras, however, would be the challenge.”
To offset the hassle of trying to fit larger items into the micro-apartment, Elika says the client plans to rent mini storage a few blocks from the apartment building, which both new and current New York residents are starting to do more and more.
But apartment dwellers aren’t the only storage consumers. Businesses of all sizes are seeking reservations at self storage facilities because they also have to work around the same size limitations.
“Very few businesses have enough retail space. They use storage as a base of operation away from the storefront…For them, it’s a lifesaver,” Sank says. “Whether it’s a personal closet for those needing extra closet space, a large room for those who are moving in or out of New York, or an extra-large room for businesses to house their inventory and files, [self storage] has something for everyone.”
Although the demand for self storage in New York City is high right now, industry experts say you can usually find one that fits your particular needs.
“If you think you need it, it’s available to you,” says Sank.