You May Soon Be Selling a Shipping Container

October 25, 2016

Steel shipping containers are increasingly being transformed into homes across the globe, and the trend is coming to the U.S. Developers are turning to them as a quick way to add affordable housing or rentals to markets.

Travis Price, an architect in Washington, D.C., has used 40-foot long sea containers to build three apartment complexes in Washington, D.C. The apartment took just seven months to design and build. He’s now working on a four-unit design with containers in another part of the area.

“It’s the great new building block of the 21st century,” Price told MarketWatch.

And containers are readily available. Price says that more than 2 million containers worldwide are sitting idle on docks. About 750,000 of those are in the U.S., according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Pre-fabricated container homes that sell for about $30,000 have been more popular as emergency housing for storm victims, since they’re easy to transport, according to MODS International, a distributor of container homes. But the containers now may become a solution to ease some urban housing shortage woes in many markets, developers say.

Some cities are lifting zoning restrictions that allow for accessory dwelling units that can be delivered and placed in a yard.

Price says the savings with a shipping container home can be significant. For example, in Washington, D.C., he says he is able to construct a container home for about $175 a square foot compared to conventional construction costs that can be $225 a square foot.

Source: “Your Next Home May Be a Shipping Container,” MarketWatch (Oct. 24, 2016)