Storage space demand spikes amid home renovation delays, rise in travel and consumer spending

Ms Kathleen's husband The Kuan Yoe with their belongings at storage service provider Lock+Store's Balestier facility. PHOTO: LOCK+STORE

SINGAPORE - Commodities sales manager Ong Aik Poh was supposed to move into his new flat in Tampines in the first quarter of 2023, but the flat’s renovation will be completed only at the end of the year due to a manpower shortage.

As a result, Mr Ong, who has sold his current flat, is storing its contents with storage service provider Lock+Store.

The 40-year-old, who is married and has two children, will be moving in with his parents-in-law while waiting for his new flat to be completed.

There has been a 20 per cent spike in inquiries for storage services in the last three months, according to storage space provider Work+Store.

Delays in flat renovation are one of the reasons for this rise in demand, said Work+Store chief executive Danny Wong.

“This is even more evident in the last few months as property transactions have increased, and we have received a 50 per cent rise in inquiries from people who are looking to store their furniture due to such delays,” he added.

Mr Ong, whose sofa, writing desk, chairs and a king-sized bed, among other items, are now with the storage provider, said he expects to spend at least $3,000 on storage.

“It’s quite inevitable that you will have to store your items elsewhere as the process between selling your current house and receiving the keys to your new house could take between eight and 12 weeks,” said Mr Ong.

“And you don’t know how long you’ll need to find the right buyer and decide on the selling price.”

A housewife who wanted to be known only as Ms Kathleen also turned to storage services in December 2022 amid her frustration over renovation delays.

Ms Kathleen, 42, and her husband had bought a landed property and its renovation was supposed to be completed in November 2022.

The couple and their five-year-old son had been staying in a rental unit while waiting for their new home to be ready.

“However, after constant delays from our contractor, our new place is still not complete and our rental unit’s lease was up. So we had to move out and store our furniture with a storage provider,” said Ms Kathleen.

Her furniture and other large items such as a refrigerator and washing machine are now kept with Lock+Store, and the family is now staying at a relative’s place.

She added: “As my contractor has not provided an estimate of how long the renovation delay will be, I don’t know how long I will have to store my furniture for.”

Ms Kathleen expects the storage bill to come up to a four-digit sum a month.

Dr Mabel Yap, 62, also has furniture stored with Lock+Store as the renovation of her current flat is held up. She believes that the delay will not extend beyond the end of Chinese New Year festivities.

“I anticipated the delay as all my friends have told me how common renovation delays are, so I booked the storage space for four months,” she said.

Dr Mabel Yap and her husband Peter Morgan with their furniture and belongings in storage with storage service provider Lock+Store. PHOTO: LOCK+STORE

Demand for storage space is also going up with more people travelling overseas as international borders reopen. Items stored include winterwear and luggage, said Work+Store’s Mr Wong.

“Given that winter clothing and luggage bags are typically underused throughout the year, we have plenty of users who entrust these items to us and only retrieve them when needed, allowing them to declutter at home,” he said.

He added that e-commerce businesses have also turned to storage service providers as consumer spending increases, said Mr Wong.

“Amid the festive season and with the GST rate hike to 8 per cent in 2023, our e-commerce business storage users observed rising demand and sales as consumers took advantage of attractive promotions and lower rates before prices hike further this year,” he said.

As a result, Work+Store has seen a 40 per cent rise in inquiries from businesses looking to stock up their goods to match the demand.

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