Oklahoma Storage Tips

Tulsans Value Their Space: The Local Self-Storage Market Heats Up

Tulsa OK Skyline
Image via Shutterstock

How much do you know about Tulsa, OK? Maybe the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, which is set nearby—and had plenty to say about American traditions and values, some might say—tells us what to expect from this city! The folk here clearly value having space around them, and they also appear to have a practical and neighborly attitude that helps them get by.

How Is Tulsa Doing?

Tulsa may just be the second city of Oklahoma, but it punches above its weight. Traditionally, it has profited from successful mining of oil and natural gas and, more recently, it has diversified its economy into the telecommunications, aerospace, high tech, finance and technology industries. It has managed to combine this with a reputation for being one of the most cost-effective places in the US for doing business.

Assisted by the aforementioned factors, Tulsa appears to have recovered well from the economic collapse of 2008-9. The current trade war with China has put a damper on the job market, and in July this year it registered only a modest growth in employment, but having recently landed an Amazon distribution center and with several other initiatives in the pipeline the city’s economic prospects for 2019 are reckoned to be good.

Tulsans Need Space

One local trend that has been observed is that residents have been looking for more space, with many leaving the downtown hub for the suburbs and outlying towns—maybe the delight in the great outdoors expressed in Oklahoma! is still alive and well! The population density of Tulsa is just over 2,000 people per square mile, considerably less than even the famously sprawling large cities of nearby Texas.

Moving can be a stressful process, with many decisions to be made and boxes of things that don’t yet have a home as weeks elapse before a new house is ready for them. But the self-storage industry is here to help. In line with Tulsa’s cost-effective business attitude, the city has some of the lowest storage unit rental rates in the country. For example, a non-air conditioned 10×10 unit in the Tulsa Metropolitan Area on average costs ($71) less than half what it would in Washington DC ($146), according to Yardi Matrix data.

Storage facility at 9410 South Elwood Avenue in Jenks, OK
Image courtesy of Yardi Matrix

Tulsa Builds More Self-Storage

Across the nation, the self-storage industry has expanded rapidly in recent years, providing storage space for people who are moving or downsizing—it’s also used by folk who simply buy more than they have room for where they live. Yardi Matrix data reveals that in August 2019 the year-over-year change in Tulsa storage street rates was positive for most types of unit, which is in stark contrast to the decreases seen in the major cities of nearby Texas.

And Yardi Matrix also offers proof that Tulsans want more self-storage right now. The amount of new rentable square footage that is being built here has risen almost threefold in the six months up to the beginning of August 2019. Two new construction projects were started in the Tulsa Metropolitan Area during that time, one of them during the preceding month.  You can search on RENTCafé to find a wide range of options in the city.

Tulsans to the Rescue

Maybe the growth in the self-storage development in Tulsa has something to do with some events that took the area by storm, literally, at the end of May this year. As with other places in central regions of the USA, multiple tornadoes hit and severe flooding followed, leaving many with their homes badly affected and their possessions at risk.

But local Tulsa residents and businesses came to the rescue, offering shelter for both people and pets, help clearing up the debris, and there was financial assistance for certain groups. In addition, at least one company offered free storage for 30 days to those affected, showing how this industry has really found its place as a benefit to local society. But Oklahoma has a reputation for charitable giving, so maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised.

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About the author

Francis Chantree

Francis writes and edits articles for the RENTCafé portal. His education includes a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from Edinburgh University and he gained his doctorate studying linguistic ambiguity. In addition, his work compiling corpora and writing technical manuals have proved to be a great background for his current work. Francis can be reached at francis.chantree@yardi.com

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