As we navigated the barrage of challenges that impacted our industry in 2020, our team embraced the mantra of “innovating for a better tomorrow.” In 2021, that better tomorrow certainly came. This year was record-breaking by almost every measure. Strong self-storage fundamentals, enhanced by persistent innovation and consistent execution, led to historically high same-store revenue growth, net operating income growth, and Core FFO growth per share. While I am thrilled with the results, I am even more impressed by the process. Despite the everchanging landscape over the last couple of years, our team put their heads down and continued to innovate, implement, and grow.
Our team’s ability to innovate, implement, and grow took performance to new heights in 2021. We achieved record high occupancy, peaking at over 97%, and average occupancy for the year of 96.2%. Our high occupancy, strong demand, and muted vacates, resulted in average realized rent per square foot growth of 10.6% for our same-store pool. Occupancy and rate growth led to same-store revenue growth of 13.8% and same-store NOI growth of 19.7%, the highest we have experienced in our history as a public company. Our investments also generated significant accretion, resulting in total 2021 Core FFO growth per share of 30.9%. Our exceptional performance allowed our board to increase our dividend twice during 2021, for a total increase of 38.9%. 2021 was a banner year by all measures; here are a few highlights from our team’s efforts to innovate, implement, and grow.
TOTAL 1-YEAR RETURN
Our team looks to constantly improve every aspect of our operation. For example, in 2020, we quickly completed the rollout of our “Rapid Rental” online leasing platform, allowing customers to complete the full leasing process contact-free, at any time of day. In 2021, we continued to enhance the platform optimizing our sales process, our customer service, our pricing, and our product offering. We introduced additional rental channels by implementing kiosks, QR codes, and call center agent assisted rentals. By the end of 2021, approximately 40% of our monthly rentals were through channels that didn’t exist 18 months prior. These innovations are expected to reduce operating expenses and to improve the customer experience.
We also innovated in our approach to raising capital. Our evolving balance sheet has been transforming into one that reflects the stable, mature company Extra Space Storage has become. This evolution qualified us for a second investment grade issuer credit rating of Baa2 stable from Moody’s Investor Service to accompany our existing BBB rating with a stable outlook from S&P Global Ratings. Our ratings provided us access to the public investment grade debt markets, which allowed us to raise over $1 billion in 10-year debt capital at a weighted cost of 2.44%.
We will continue to promote innovation by every team at Extra Space Storage in 2022.
The Extra Space team has proven we can adapt quickly to new operating environments. With each new change in stride, the team has exceeded my expectations with our ability to implement new ideas, new policies, and new technologies.
For example, after testing the efficacy of enhancements to our pricing, marketing, and customer service strategies, we seamlessly implemented them into our operating platform. We saw efficiencies to our staffing models yield payroll savings, while still maximizing revenue. We realized reductions in our pay-per-click advertising and still increased opportunities and conversion rates through search engine optimization techniques. We experienced accelerated rental rate growth through new approaches to customer pricing. We saw improvement in our customer service levels, with over 70% of service calls resolved on the first contact. Finally, we continued to integrate ESG principles throughout the business and brought our reporting into compliance with the SASB and TCFD frameworks. As we continue to invest in our solar program, our diversity and inclusion efforts, our environmental reporting and more, we received a three green star rating by GRESB and were named a “Leader in the Light” by NAREIT for the second consecutive year.
Due to the fragmented nature of our industry, we continue to consolidate the industry through external growth. Acquisition volume in the storage industry reached new all-time highs with four portfolios trading at price tags of over $1 billion. Our focus has always been on accretive growth, rather than growth for growth’s sake. Instead of focusing on the competitive brokered market of large portfolio deals, we focused our efforts on off-market acquisition of lease-up properties through our deep industry relationships. We purchased 66% of our properties from joint ventures, our third-party management platform, or our bridge loan platform. We also looked to structure many of these transactions with joint venture partners or through other creative structures, resulting in initial and stabilized yields above market levels. Through these efforts, we acquired 119 stores for a total price of $2.0 billion, investing $1.3 billion of our capital, with the balance contributed by partners.
In addition to acquisitions, we had an active year on the third-party management front. We added 265 stores to the platform, ending the year at 828 third‑party managed stores, the largest platform in the industry. The addition of these stores was a primary driver of management fees as well as tenant insurance income growth.
Our bridge loan program also grew steadily through the year, with total origination of $333 million in mortgage and mezzanine loans. As planned, we sold a significant portion of the mortgage loans to debt partners. Net origination was $156 million, with a weighted average interest rate of 5.9%. We also acquired 13 of the properties serving as collateral for loans, totaling $161 million.
To innovate, implement, and grow is in our DNA, and it didn’t just yield great results in 2021. This philosophy has driven a better experience for our customers, a better working environment for our team, and a more sustainable national portfolio. Our approach has also driven steady outperformance in the REIT and storage industries, highlighted by outsized short and long-term Core-FFO growth, dividend growth, and the sector’s best 1-year and 10-year total shareholder returns.
These results are made possible by the best team in the industry. For many years we have had the goal of recruiting, developing, and retaining diverse top talent, and today we are 4,300 strong across 41 states. Team Extra Space is the lifeblood of our company, and they are the driving force behind the results. I continue to be impressed with the integrity, excellence, innovation, teamwork and passion that they bring to work every day to grow our company and our investment as fellow shareholders.
Chief Executive Officer