Living in a Shipping Container: The New Look of Affordable Housing?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The increasing challenge of affordable homeownership has been well documented – and renting an apartment is getting to be a similar fiscal strain. But if you could build a home for less than half the square foot cost of a conventional home, would you make the move? What if it meant living in a shipping container?

Living in a Shipping Container

© TheStreet Living in a Shipping Container: The New Look of Affordable Housing?

Maybe it’s time to think inside the box. Steel shipping containers – stacked aboard ships and trains to haul freight around the world – eventually land empty and unused. There are estimated to be some 20 million surplus containers ready to be repurposed. A 40-foot-long container costs anywhere from $1,400 to $4,000, and with a little patch of land, the installation of a foundation, electricity and plumbing, you’ve got yourself a sturdy little 320-foot homestead. And at about half the cost of a conventional house, according to the website of home renovation expert Bob Vila.

And nobody says you have to stop with just one. These things can be stacked up to nine high and then connected and assembled as sprawling units. The trend is spreading, not just for homeowners but for renters – particularly Millennials who prefer convenient urban living and compact spaces.

“We lock them together,” Micheal Kenner, a Nashville developer, told The Tennessean.Whatever you can do with Legos, you can do with these.” Kenner is transforming about a dozen of the units into “micro apartments” in the Music City. Nearly two dozen were recently converted into retail stores, restaurants and offices in a Nashville healthcare and technology development.

New York-based SG Blocks, container provider for the Nashville projects, has delivered the units for projects around the nation: from a beach home in the Hamptons and a Starbucks in Salt Lake City, to the South Street Seaport in New York.

“It represents a progression in the technology of construction,” Paul Galvin, CEO of SG Blocks told TheStreet recently. “We repurpose containers from intermodal units of transportation into intermodal units of construction that are stronger and greener and more-efficient than traditional construction.”

The company says the containers meet or exceed structural safety codes, are corrosion resistant and reduce construction time by up to 40%. And you would think that these heavy steel boxes would absorb heat and transfer cold indoors, but SG Blocks says proper insulation provides “more than adequate heat and cold protection.”

–Hal M. Bundrick is a Certified Financial Planner and contributor to MainStreet. Follow him on Twitter: @HalMBundrick

This article was originally published on MSN Real Estate. See it here.

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3 Shipping Container Homes and How They Stack Up

Imagine living in a shipping container. Cramped? Claustrophobic? Dark? It doesn’t have to be. Shipping container homes can be more than you ever dreamed.

New construction re-purposing the enormous metal containers into shipping container homes has taken hold across the country. From tiny Elizabethtown, KY, to bustling Seattle, WA, stories of shipping container homes have started stacking up.

To learn more about the movement, we spoke with agent Michael Rastatter. He’s working on a project in Cleveland that uses shipping container materials to create a unique, industrial-looking home. While the home has yet to be built, he has renderings, plans, and a plot of land on which to plop this steel structure.

Rastatter touts the benefits of re-using containers.

“I had an empty lot in Cleveland I had purchased before the bubble burst,” he says. “I did some online research and found people using containers throughout Europe, and I thought it would be a great idea to bring to Cleveland.”

“This city has many unique examples of architecture throughout its neighborhoods dating back to the 1800s,” he adds. “I think a modern take on homes could be the next wave for the city.”

He notes the home will be warm in the winter, be eco-friendly, and use recycled and sustainable materials throughout.

4219 Orchard Ave, Cleveland OH — $385,000.

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In addition, we found two other shipping container homes on the market. The Michigan example uses a blend of wood, concrete, and shipping container to create an intriguing modern look.

16180 Stones Throw, Union Pier, MI — $795,000.

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The New York home is a smaller house based solely on the footprint of the renovated metal box.

4896 Vega Mt Rd, Roxbury, NY — $220,000.

from realtor.com

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This article was originally published by Erik Gunther on realtor.com. See more photos and the original article here.