Extra Space had a banner year in 2021, by every measure. We had record-setting occupancy, driven by strong demand and muted vacate activity, peaking at 97.2%. Our elevated occupancy resulted in exceptional rate growth to new and existing customers. Strong fundamentals coupled with our team’s outstanding execution, resulted in same-store revenue growth of 13.8%. We were also able to reduce expenses, with marketing expense down 30.5%, for the year, and total same-store expense reductions of 1.0%. This resulted in same-store net operating income of 19.7%, the highest in our company’s history.
We also saw significant contributions to Core-FFO, from external growth activities such as acquisitions, tenant reinsurance, management fees, interest income from bridge loans and preferred equity investments. This resulted in exceptional Core-FFO growth of over $246 million, or 30.9% per share, once again leading the storage sector, and among the highest of all public REITs. This allowed us to raise our dividend twice during the year, for a total increase of 38.9%. This resulted in a one-year total shareholder return of 101%, the highest in the storage sector, and a total 10-year return of 1,209%, the highest in the sector, and of any publicly traded REIT in the country.
Total 10-year Return to Shareholders
Core FFO per share Growth
Same Store Net Operating Income Growth
Issued through Bond Offerings
We also experienced innovation and growth in our balance sheet in 2021, most notably through receiving our second public credit rating, a Baa2 stable rating from Moody’s, to accompany our BBB stable rating from S&P Global. Shortly thereafter, we issued our inaugural investment grade bond, issuing $450 million in 10-year bonds at 2.55%. We issued a secondary offering of $600 million in 10-year bonds at 2.35% just a few months later. We reduced our secured debt concentration through these unsecured financing transactions. We also reduced our total leverage, through net operating income and the proceeds from the disposition of two slower growth portfolios. On December 31, 2021, our net debt to EBITDA was 5.1x, our unencumbered asset pool was over $13 billion, and we were comfortably within all of our debt covenant ratios.
Our goal is to have an appropriately levered balance sheet with the financial flexibility to ensure we have multiple sources of capital available to support our operations and finance our growth efficiently in any market environment.
Among Extra Space Storage Inc., the S&P 500 Index, and the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index