California to Texas Migration Stimulates Self Storage Development in the Lone Star State

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The California to Texas migration route is the busiest in the country. According to US Census data analyzed by StorageCafe, about 190 CA to TX moves occurred daily between 2010 to 2019. During 2019 alone, around 82K Californians made Texas their new home, with Los Angeles County to Harris County seeing the largest number of moves.

This sustained migration trend, from California and other states to Texas, has impacted self storage development, with relocations only creating more demand drivers for self storage. We’ve analyzed development and price evolution in the 10 Texas counties that attracted the largest numbers of Californian residents. As it turns out, prices are picking up in all 10, while new construction is adding more square footage of rentable storage space to the existing inventory.

Self storage street rates jump significantly in Texan counties due to increased demand

Self storage rates for a 10×10 unit in the 10 most popular Texas counties for newcomers vary from $88 in Bell County to $117 in Travis County. Anchored by Austin and its bustling economy, Travis County is one of the most popular destinations for newcomers. High demand, combined with the moderate per capita inventory of eight square feet of storage space and a 2021 year-over-year drop of almost 40% in new construction, naturally led to higher monthly rates.

Bell County, on the other hand, is the county that enjoys the lowest self storage monthly rate among these 10 counties, at $88 per month. It has high per capita inventory, of over 10 square feet, and new construction doubled in 2021, compared to the previous year.

The highest year-over-year growth in street rates, of approx. 15%, was registered in Williamson County, translating to current rates of a little over $100 per month for a 10×10 storage unit. Some of the factors contributing to this increase are the high demand generated by inbound migration and the decrease in the rate of new construction. Year-over-year new construction in Williamson County dropped by almost 70% compared to 2020.

The 2nd largest year-over-year price increase, of over 14%, is registered in El Paso County, fueled by a low per capita inventory of around five square feet per capita and a 10% drop in new construction year-over-year.

Harris County, the most populous among the 10 counties analyzed, and at the receiving end of the highest influx of Californians, still enjoys the second-lowest monthly street rate among the 10 counties, at $93. The affordable street rates in the area are due to a high per capita inventory of over nine square feet. However, prices are picking up here too, registering an almost 11% year-over-year increase this October.

New self storage construction more than triples in Dallas County

This year also saw significant new self storage construction being added to the existing inventory in all 10 counties. Dallas County had the highest year-over-year increase, of over 220%, which translates to 620,000 square feet of new rentable self storage space added in 2021 alone. The addition of new self storage space is welcome here, as Dallas County still registers the second-lowest per capita inventory among the counties analyzed, at a little under eight square feet.

Bell and Denton counties also saw substantial new construction increases this year, with 108% and 90% respectively. In terms of volume, Denton County registered the most square feet of self storage added in 2021 – over 673K. This addition led to an increase in self storage per capita from 7.8 sq. ft. in 2020 to 8.6 currently.

Californians find cheaper storage in Texas but also more affordable, larger homes

Californians relocating to Texas can count on far less expensive self storage options in the latter, making the process of moving somewhat cheaper and easier. For example, a 10x10 self storage unit in Los Angeles, a county that’s the originating place of many of the Californians coming to Texas, costs a little over $210. To compare, self storage street rates in Travis County, the most expensive among the 10 destination counties analyzed, hovers around $117 per month. Harris County, which is at the receiving end of the largest number of moves from LA County, offers even lower self storage street rates, at around $93 per month.

Self storage is not the only thing that’s cheaper in Texas. Homes are also significantly less expensive – and a lot bigger, too. For example, relocating from LA County to Harris County (the most popular California to Texas moving route) leads to significantly larger and more affordable homes for former Californians.

The median home price difference between the two counties is over $480K, with the median home in Harris County also being almost 580 square feet larger. Overall, homes in Texas are almost 60% less expensive than in California, while providing 14% more space.

California to Texas migration shows little signs of slowing down for now – and self storage is one of the commercial real estate sectors that become more competitive because of this trend.

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Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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