DEMAND for storage space is soaring, says the Self Storage Association.

A nationwide survey found demand is outstripping supply, despite more self-storage sites being built across the country.

Occupancy rates increased from 73.1 per cent in 2015 to 75 per cent in 2016, and storage supplier Smart Storage, which has branches across the North West, including Preston, says it is contributing to this upward market trend.

Occupancy across Smart Storage branches increased by 24 per cent over the same period. The company is expanding its flagship site at Altrincham to create an extra 25,000 sq ft of self-storage space, including an additional 450 storage units, and will open in August.

Mike Wilson, CEO of Smart Storage, said he was pleased the company was growing alongside the industry. "The expansion that is under way at our Altrincham store is a result of the sheer demand for self-storage in the UK," he said. "We’re really excited to be opening our additional rooms soon."

Almost half of Europe's self-storage space is fond in the UK.

The survey by the Self Storage Association found the average cost of renting a 90 sq ft storage unit was £40 per week.

Smart Storage's prices for a similar unit are in line with the North West average of £27.50 per week, said Mr Wilson.

"We’re very proud that we are proven to be offering our customers such a high-quality competitive service that they are happy to stay with us for much longer than the national average rental period," he added.