No space at home? worry not: Chris and Natalie Humphrey owners of the Easytruck storage facilities at the warehouse in Al Quoz Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS

Dubai: Spiralling rents are pushing residents to shift to smaller homes and put their belongings into professional storage.

This week Briton Lee Brett moved from a three-bedroom, free-standing villa in Saheel in the Arabian Ranches to a cheaper, semi-detached home in Al Reem. This meant he couldn’t fit every-thing into the smaller house so he got a storage pod from Easytruck Removals and Storage and cleared around 30 square feet of space.

Coping with rent hike

“Our landlord increased our rent by nearly Dh25,000, prompting our decision to move. We didn’t want to leave the Ranches because our daughter goes to school there. So we found a smaller place in Al Reem at a more affordable rate. But space in the new home is tight, so we cleared out clutter using Easytruck’s mobile storage pods. It helped us manage the downsizing without adding significantly more costs,” said Brett.

Easytruck owner Chris Humphrey said another expat living on the Palm will be storing his water sports equipment in one of his storage pods from next week as he is moving to a one-bedroom flat in Al Barsha. He said: “Rents are going back to the 2008 levels and people are moving to more affordable homes. Around 40 per cent of our customers are those who want to downsize or declutter.”

The trend is evident in other storage houses too.

Faisal Khan of StorALL, said: “We have many families who have moved from villas in Jumeirah, Mirdif and the Ranches to smaller apartments in Motor City, Greens and Al Barsha.”

He said: “There has been a large trend towards downsizing which started in the middle of 2013 and will gain pace with what is being described as the second real estate boom. Prices are expected to exponentially rise despite some 20,000 new villas coming into the market in 2014-25.”

He said the resulting downsize means that customers must either sell whatever doesn’t fit into the smaller homes or store it. “The value of second-hand furniture is abysmal. So people find it more viable to store stuff in the short term. The leases we offer are on a monthly basis these days, unlike the earlier long-term options.”

Humphrey said he launched Easytruck as a mobile storage in response to the changing times. “Moving to storage can be expensive, but with mobile storage, there is no need to hire a moving company because we bring the storage pod to the customer, saving them thousands of dirhams. Our pods, which come at just Dh20 a day, are designed to fit a heap of stuff from double beds, cupboards and fridges to boxes of files, clothes and kitchen equipment.”

At The Home Storage, Omar Adam said: “Our personal storage customers include those who are downsizing, those who have lost jobs and those who just want to declutter their homes.” He said at a monthly rate of Dh12 per square foot many find the storage reasonable. Moreover, most storage facilities are open seven days a week, ensuring easy access. There’s also the assured security with belongings kept under lock and key.