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Q&A With Tyson Huebner

Tyson Huebner joined Yardi Matrix in 2023 as a Director of Institutional Research after 12 years at Heitman, a global real estate investment management firm. During that time, he assisted with the underwriting and investment management of more than $10 billion in self-storage and student-housing properties. Tyson earned his bachelor’s degree from North Central College and master’s degree in urban planning from University of Illinois at Chicago. Toy Storage Nation is most appreciative of Tyson’s time to respond candidly to hard questions regarding the RV and boat storage industry’s past, present and future. 

What are the resources that Yardi depends on for collecting data? 

Yardi Matrix has a team of hundreds of researchers in various locations around the globe that identify and add existing RV and boat properties and new developments, as well as survey properties for rental rates. The team uses many different sources including government resources, third-party news sources, company websites in addition to phone calls to obtain and confirm information on properties.

What do you see under the microscope? How about your crystal ball?

RV and boat sales, as well as vehicle sales, have sputtered and dropped significantly in the past year. However, the need for RV and boat storage development to accommodate the overhang of demand created in recent years remains, and a return to in-person work arrangements could bring more RVs off the roads.

Can you detect any specific trends that you can share?

The drop in RV, boat and vehicle sales is noticeable, but it hasn’t slowed investment and development interest in the RV and boat storage sector as much as it has in other property types. More and more traditional self storage owners, operators and investors are becoming interested in the sector as a niche within the storage sector, and there is some overlap in management expertise since some traditional storage properties include RV and boat parking.

How would you characterize Class A facilities? How important is it for facilities to provide specific amenities/services? 

Yardi classifies Class A RV and boat storage facilities as ones that have an on-site manager, gated entry with security camera coverage, along with enclosed or canopied parking structures, RV electric hookups, wash stations, dump stations and water and air stations. They may also include valet service. These properties are a very small percentage of the RV and boat storage properties Yardi is tracking nationwide (less than 3% of properties), so there is a distinct need for more of this class of properties.

Are there any U.S. markets nearing their saturation point? Do you categorize fastest-growing markets versus ones that are lagging?

New supply of RV and boat parking is still relatively muted, so it’s tough to categorize any markets as oversupplied. Yardi is currently working on estimating the total amount of parking square feet at both traditional self-storage and RV and boat storage properties to effectively calculate supply and saturation by market which, combined with RV and boat registrations, should help users analyze supply and demand patterns. In addition to the 1,248 existing RV and boat storage properties we track, there are 13,741 self-storage properties that rent parking spaces for boats and RVs, over 46% of all storage properties.

Can you summarize the pacing of RV and boat storage sales compared with development of storage facilities?

Traditional self storage development has been declining since 2019, while RV and boat storage development has maintained a steady pace over the last 10 years. Unlike self-storage supply, RV and boat storage has not picked up relative to the increase in demand in recent years. The number of properties in the supply chain currently in the “planning” stage indicates development interest is high, even as new deliveries and construction activity have waned in recent quarters.

How are interest rates impacting RV and boat sales? How about development of storage facilities to house them? 

Interest rates have taken a noticeable bite out of RV and boat sales and will likely make development of storage facilities more costly and less feasible. After a drop in RV and boat storage development activity in 2020 after COVID delayed construction projects, new deliveries picked up significantly in 2021 and 2022, peaking in Q3 2022. So far this year, construction activity and new deliveries seem subdued, although there is still plenty in the pipeline categorized as “planned” or “prospective.” 

What are the most likely hurdles for developers to anticipate? Any tips for circumnavigating them? 

Near-term hurdles include persistently high inflation and a potential recession, which would likely further exacerbate the decline in RV and boat sales. This would also be a direct challenge to securing financing for new development. Similar to self-storage, developers should anticipate slower lease up timing as households may put off making large purchases. However, the surge in sales in recent years means RV and boat storage is still in demand, and storage has proven to be a solid long-term investment with lots of upside.

Yardi® Matrix offers the industry’s most comprehensive market intelligence tool for investment professionals, equity investors, lenders and property managers who underwrite and manage investments in multifamily, student housing, industrial, office and self-storage property types, including RV and boat storage. The company provides nationwide market and institutional research reports that leverage property-level details of properties.Yardi Matrix also uses data in the Yardi property management system stack to create aggregated and anonymized operating expense, revenue and operational metric data that improves underwriting analysis and competitive benchmarking. For more information, visit the Yardi Matrix website.

Stake Your Claim in Toy Storage 

Learn more about all aspects of developing and operating a successful RV and boat storage facility at the upcoming Toy Storage Nation Executive Workshop, June 16, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Denver/Boulder, Colo., where Tyson Huebner of Yardi Matrix will provide an overview of RV and boat storage, trends in the marketplace and the investment market. Limited seats are available for this one-day accelerated, intensive workshop, led by the industry’s most experienced professionals. Learn more and REGISTER NOW

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