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February Market Update: Warehouse storage pricing climbs 1.4 percent in January

Jacob Roseburrough
Jacob Roseburrough Director of Marketing

Executive Summary

  • National warehouse storage pricing is up 1.4 percent month-over-month and 10.6 percent year-over-year 
  • January advanced retail sales numbers surpassed expectations with 3 percent growth where economists at Dow Jones estimated a 1.9 percent growth increase
  • December advanced retail inventories showed a slight uptick of 0.5 percent
  • RSM’s Supply Chain Index signals recovering with the 6th consecutive month above the pre-pandemic level

Warehousing market watch

warehousing market watch graphic

Labor, energy, e-commerce growth, and retail sales are core attributes that have historically driven warehouse pricing. Rising energy costs are currently one of the biggest challenges for warehouses. The U.S. average, according to the consumer price index (CPI), is up 8.7 percent year-over-year. 

Average Hourly Earnings for All Employees, Warehousing and Transportation is up 5.5 percent year-over-year, respectively. From a sales perspective, e-commerce growth has normalized but still remains on an upward trajectory. January’s advanced retail sales were strong posting a 3 percent increase following two consecutive holiday months of decline. 

Industrial vacancy rates

The national industrial vacancy rate remains tight at 3.3 percent. Key port markets continue to remain at less than a 2.0 percent vacancy rate. Savannah and the Inland Empire lead all markets with the lowest vacancy rates at 0.7 and 1.0 percent, respectively. 

Industrial vacancy rates in every major U.S. port market graphic

Warehouse pricing index

National storage index reading 

Nationwide warehousing capacity continues to remain tight and warehouse pricing continues to increase, up 1.4 percent month-over-month and 10.6 percent year-over-year ending in January 2023.

National Storage Index Graphic

Regional storage index reading 

All regions have seen steadily rising warehouse storage prices. The Midwest and South regions lead all regions with 15.7 and 11.7 percent increases year-over-year, respectively.

Regional storage index graphic

Voice of the warehouse: WarehouseQuote operators share their perspective on current market conditions.

“Tight industrial real estate vacancy rates have driven up real estate costs in the key markets. As we have explored additional capacity, the price per sq ft has doubled over the past 2 years. These drivers will be heavily influencing storage rates heading into 2023”

“As we have continued to grow, technology has been a major challenge for us.”

 “The labor market is still unpredictable. We have raised our pay rates to be equivalent to our competitors; however, the consistency and motivation has declined dramatically.”

“We are still feeling heavy after-effects of COVID-19 and its influence on the labor market. Less people are willing to work warehousing jobs as employers move to a work-from-home model which has created a strong demand for labor, driving prices up.”

On a positive note: The supply chain is recovering

The warehousing sector remains tight but there is positive news for the broader supply chain. The RSM’s Supply Chain Index indicates the supply chain is in a state of recovery posting the 6th consecutive month at the pre-pandemic level. RSM estimates that supply-chain disruptions contributed to about a third of inflation that occurred over the last 2.5 years. 

The recent improvements to supply chain efficiency have been a key factor in the fall of goods inflation.

Seth T. Bacon, Director and Consumer Products Senior Analyst at RSM, joins our podcast, Supply Chain Unpacked, to discuss consumer spending and tips for middle market businesses in the year ahead. 

RSM Supply Chain Index Graphic

Macroeconomic watch

Strong retail sales after two holiday months of decline

January’s advanced retail sales data indicated a 3.0 percent month-over-month increase, a strong rebound from two straight holiday months of decline.

Retail Sales January Numbers Graphic

Consumer Price Index for all items rises 0.5 percent in January and 6.4 percent over the last 12 months

The Consumer Price Index for All Items increased 0.5 percent in January and 6.4 percent over the last 12 months. The Index for shelter was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase. Food, gasoline, and natural gas also contributed.

warehousing market watch graphic


Consumer sentiment and expectations

The Index of consumer sentiment rose 1.5 index points in February, up 6 percent year-over-year. Higher prices and inflationary pressures still have consumers spending with caution. Consumer expectations were essentially unchanged in February, up 4.9 percent year-over-year. 

Index of consumer sentiment and expectations


Data methodology

The Warehouse Pricing Index (WPI) is powered by warehousing service fees across our global network for ambient warehousing. We’ve started by defining a baseline of 100 and looking at changes in costs relative to the average price of inventory services thereafter. Market insights are obtained through interviews with partners across our agile warehouse network.

Explanation of terms

Industrial real estate vacancy rate

Industrial real estate vacancy rate is the percentage of available industrial property, such as a warehouse or distribution center.

Retail sales

The Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services provides early estimates of monthly sales for companies in the retail trade and food services sectors.

WarehouseQuote’s economic commentary disclaimer

The material and content used in this publication is for informational purposes only. Reference to any third party (including external hyperlinks) does not constitute or imply the endorsement of said third party. WarehouseQuote does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the Content. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of WarehouseQuote. Reproduction of the Content may be made only with the written permission from WarehouseQuote.


About WarehouseQuote

WarehouseQuote is a managed warehousing solution helping middle market and enterprise businesses scale their warehouse operations with precision. Through our 3PL warehousing and fulfillment network of 250+ facilities, integrated technology platform, and in-house supply chain expertise, we enable businesses to design efficient fulfillment networks connected by a single technology platform. Hundreds of B2B and B2C businesses like Chatime, Joyride, Benitago Group, Big Ass Fans, and Mighty Good Solutions use WarehouseQuote to scale, streamline, and optimize their warehouse operations.

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