2013 was quite the year with a government shutdown, life-altering natural disasters, Obamacare, a royal birth, and the continued expansion of the self-storage industry. Before you have time to blink, 2014 will be half way over. While most of us have already forgotten our New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to remember what has happened this previous year.
Changes in Self-Storage Laws:
In July 2013, North Carolina passed House Bill 243 and Senate Bill 263 which allow self-storage operators to use e-mail as a form of communication with tenants in lien status. These bills also allow operators to publish a notice in any commercially reasonable manner (forums other than traditional newspaper ads).
North Carolina wasn’t the only state making changes to the way tenants could be notified that they were in lien status. Ohio Governor Kasich signed into law the Ohio Self-Service Storage Facility Act, which among other changes allowed the default notice to be sent by First-Class Mail with Certificate of Mailing. Florida, Illinois, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, and California are other states that now also allow the default notice to be sent by First-Class Mail with Certificate of Mailing.
New Jersey passed into law revisions on their Self-Service Storage Facility Act as well and allowed for notification to the tenant by electronic mail (e-mail). Oregon, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada and Utah all made similar e-mail communication changes.
2013 saw the majority of the debate regarding the quickly impending January 1, 2014, the implementation date of the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Congress was divided on any new spending bill and whether it should include provisions to either defund or derail Obamacare. Trying to use the spending bill as leverage ended in the now-infamous government shutdown debacle.
Rebound of the economy:
After several tough years, the U.S. Economy, including small businesses, saw a rebound. Small business credit conditions improved for the fourth consecutive quarter by the end of 2013 (Yahoo Finance). This should be quite impactful for our industry given that 70.9% of the self-storage locations in the U.S. are independents, i.e. small business owners.
The economy added an average of 195,000 new payroll jobs each month of the fourth quarter and GDP growth was at 3.2% (Trading Economics).
The housing market stabilized:
There are three big indicators that tell economists how the housing market is doing: new construction starts, existing home sales, and the delinquency plus foreclosure rate. All three of those indicators were up in 2013, which led economists to say that the housing recovery is in healthy shape (Forbes). Nationwide, home prices rose by 11.2% (CNN Money).
The United States incurred seven billion dollars worth of damage in weather disasters in 2013 (weather.com). In May, destructive and fatal tornadoes touched down in the Midwest, Plains and Northeast. Significant damage hit those parts and killed 10 in Moore, Oklahoma.
As if 2013 hadn’t seen enough extreme weather, winter came and with it the coldest winter in recent memory. Freezing temperatures were felt along the Northeast, Midwest and Southern belt of the United States. In December 2013, North America was rocked with temperatures as cold as -42 degrees Fahrenheit in places likes Jordan, Montana. Needless to say, the weather was the talk of the town.
Self-storage saw some consolidation within the larger operations in the industry. CubeSmart purchased Private Mini Storage’s 36-property self-storage portfolio for $326 million. Public Storage acquired a portfolio of 43 self-storage properties from Harrison Street for $315 million.
Here’s to 2013 which brought changes, rebounds, stabilization, and unpredictability. The U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network is excited to see what 2014 has in store!