Shipping Container Homes and Why They Make Sense

It's amazing to think that the shipping container that brought your TV from overseas can now be the home that you live in.

In the early 1950's in America families could buy a modest new home for around $20,000 after you added in the property taxes, furniture, appliances and move-in costs. In today's real estate market in the United States, purchasing the same type of house in a typical middle class neighborhood might cost you around $200,000 depending on the location and other factors.

But now many people looking to buy a new home are buying them for the same price as their parents or grandparents did in the 1950's at around $20,000. The difference is they're buying homes not make of wood or traditional materials. They're buying shipping container homes. That's right-homes made from used steel containers that once carried merchandise on large ships. And they're not what you would first imagine. These are nice, desirable homes.

Shipping Container Homes Are Easy To Get and Easy To Get Into
A lot of people are looking into using recycled cargo containers as a material source for building homes. They certainly are a green alternative to other materials and using them does a lot of good for the recycling community. We don't notice it very much but there are quite a lot of unused, empty cargo containers sitting at ports all around the world doing nothing but taking up space. Or worse yet, being sent off to landfill.
Manufacturers of goods and the shipping companies that ship those goods see them as disposable items, throwaways just like the soda cans so many consumers still don't see value in. It's actually rather expensive for countries to ship unused and empty containers back to their country of origin and quite often it's cheaper to buy new containers when the need for them arise.

Costs for cargo containers vary but on average you can get a used one for about $1,500. The average container has about 350 square feet of space. Someone who wants a 3,000 square foot home would have to pay approximately $80 per square foot to have a home built using traditional methods. In some parts of the U.S. it costs well over $100 per square foot.

Container homes cost about four and a half dollars per square foot (the cost is just for the frame, not including the construction and finishing work). But do the calculations and you'll see the basic (frame only) cost for a 3,000 square foot home built from recycled containers is about $13,500. Even with the added cost of having to configure and finish the basic units to make them into a home it's still quite a savings over traditional home building methods.

Shipping Container Homes Are Being Accepted As Part of Society
So far the most popular places for building cargo container homes has been in parts of Asia and in the former Soviet Union. But recently shipping container houses have started showing up in the United States, specifically in southern California.

Of course it does take a bit of construction work to fix up these steel containers including installing insulation, plumbing, electrical, windows and doors. Yet, when all is said and done, the homes are made from recycled materials, cheap and unique. And this is just what many green home owners are looking for right now.
Derrick Taylor writes about container homes plus other unique green housing designs and architecture.