Shipping Containers Used for Housing

Written By: Joan Ewing, Op-Ed Writer 

Hello everybody - This week’s blog is going to be a little different, while it is very interesting, it is not exactly relating to FHA financing - although perhaps we will see FHA finance these types of housing someday. I found a very interesting article regarding shipping containers on the USA Today website.

I am sure everyone is familiar with the large tractor trailer boxes that travel on the back of semis - well there is a new use!!!! How does affordable housing sound? Thinking outside-the-box some architects and home-buyers are turning the 8-by-40 foot steel containers often left vacant at seaports into housing.

Although it is only experimental at this time - it makes sense and a great housing alternative. Not only are the containers economical at $2,000-$3,000 each they also are recycled containers and eco-friendly. For the most part the homes use anywhere from 4-8 containers. They are stacked and/or put side by side. There is a company that modifies the containers at 17 locations and there is currently about 75 homes nationwide whose purchases have found the “American Dream”.

The company that modifies these containers was founded in 2006 and plans to modify more than 1,000 containers next year. Interestingly these containers can be used for multi-family; multi-storied and cost at least 20% less than traditional building materials.

With the rising costs of construction materials and the demand for affordable housing in high cost areas such as California it only makes sense to get the best use from recyclable material - as long as it works.

There is one couple in Redondo Beach California who has a 3,200 square foot home on an 8,860 square foot lot. There house stands out in the neighborhood and is made of six containers which have been painted beige; the inside has high ceilings, and recycled materials. Since the buyers have retained many features of the containers, there will be little maintenance.

The builder of these homes is stating the cost of these homes start at approximately $150 per square foot compared to $225 to $250 per square foot.

In addition to affordability, the containers strength makes it a valuable source in the construction industry. Look for container housing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.

There are many companies currently looking into container housing. Builders of condominium projects are looking how they could be used and the safety of the buildings. While for the most part container housing is in the infancy stages - It will probably not be long before we see them popping up, particularly where affordable housing is needed.

Hope everyone enjoyed this tid-bit of information.

Until next week - keep processing. More later.

About The Author

Joan Ewing - As an op-ed writer and active FHA DE Underwriter for the past 15 years, Joan Ewing is a proud NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). Joan brings years of FHA Government experience to her writings, letting her readers tap into her underwriting knowledge base. 


Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.