Real Estate Boom… in Storage

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CNBC’s Diana Olick reports today from the exuberant Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) conference in New York City. Apparently the sector is on a tear, despite the double dip in housing, thanks to limited office space and the shift from home-ownership to multi-family rentals.

That news coincides with a story in the New York Times about UBS considering a move back across state lines from Connecticut to New York to be closer to clients and to satisfy the urban cravings of their young traders.

But just to underscore that this bright spot in an otherwise bleak real estate landscape has losers as well as winners, Olick notes that the top performer in REIT world is storage, thanks to the needs of people downsizing their lives as they move from large homes they own, to smaller ones they rent. Says Olick:

As fewer people choose to buy, and more people lose their homes, [storage] is where all their stuff goes. It’s also a product of overall downsizing. I realize that’s not a very highbrow explanation, but it just so happens to be the case, and it’s behind an 18.4% sector gain in the first five months of the year. In the last 12 months, self storage REITs returned 29 percent.