How Much Does Container Homes Cost

Container homes are becoming more and more popular. Many people want to know how much a container home costs.

There are many reasons why people are building shipping container homes. These homes can be inexpensive to create and provide a comfortable living space while being portable.

The architecture of the building is unique and appeals to young Americans. Container homes are more affordable and flexible than buying a traditional home.

We will break down the cost of building a container home to help determine if this could be a viable housing option for you.

When you think of a container home, what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine a small, simple structure built on a foundation of metal drums or shipping containers. These homes can be inexpensive and practical, but they’re not always luxurious.

In general, the price of a container home depends on several factors, including the size and features of the house. Generally speaking, smaller homes are cheaper than larger ones.

Since container homes are often customizable, you can also expect to pay more for an en-suite bathroom, a deck, or other added features.

Overall, it’s safe to say that a typical container home costs between $50,000 and $300,000 – though prices may vary depending on the specific model and location.

Let’s look at some of the essential things about how much it costs to build a container home.

What Are Shipping Container Homes?

A shipping container home is a small, temporary housing unit used to move goods around the world. It’s made from lightweight steel and can be easily transported.

There are different containers, so it’s essential to choose the right container size for your needs. The 40-foot by 8-foot container provides 320 square feet of space, while the 20-foot by 8-foot container offers 160 square feet.

The containers are usually 8 and 1/2 feet high, though a taller version is available. High Cube Containers are taller than the standard containers creating the feeling of more extensive living space.

Shipping container homes with higher ceilings are preferable to most buyers. Additionally, the higher ceilings make insulating easier. Although a high cube container is more expensive, it is well worth the investment. You can feel the difference in ceiling height.

Shipping container homes are often structures made of multiple shipping containers. They can be the perfect size for an office or a small home.

Multiple shipping containers are often put together to create a larger container. Many people choose to combine containers in order to create a larger space. When the walls between them are removed, the space inside becomes larger.

The homes are built using shipping container construction methods and then finished with traditional construction methods to create interior walls.

Shipping containers are often used to create multi-level residences. Some architects have embraced the shipping container construction to create homes that are very different from traditional metal box homes.

Traditional home building materials are combined to create appealing containers.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Container Home?

One of the most common questions is how much does a container home cost? Shipping container home pricing can vary dramatically depending on how much customizing is done.

Building a container home will cost less than building a traditional home, depending on the features and materials you want.

The more features and amenities added to the project, the more money your container home will cost.

The Land Will Be a Significant Portion of The Building Container Home Cost

Building a Container Home Cost

Let’s face it, land isn’t cheap. In most places, buying land will make up a large portion of the overall cost of building a container home.

While you may be able to find some land cheap in very rural areas, once you start getting close to civilization, the cost can jump exponentially.

Buying a one acre lot in urban or suburban areas can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are fortunate, you may be able to find something under a hundred grand.

The cost of purchasing the land could end up being more than fifty percent of the project’s total cost.

Different types of land can be bought for various purposes. For example, raw land is not typically purchased to develop it into a home but instead used for agriculture or other purposes.

Improved land has many amenities suitable for residential living, such as ready access to utilities and a well-developed infrastructure.

Additionally, the land is zoned for residential use only, so commercial structures or farmland are not allowed.

How to Finance The Cost of Building a Container Home

Most people who will build a container home will make finding the land a priority. After all finding, a decent lot may be the most challenging part of the equation.

Getting land loan financing will be one of your priorities. Look at the excellent resource that explains everything you need to know about getting a land loan.

When you intend to buy and build simultaneously, looking into a construction loan might be the best option.

Keep in mind that financing a container home will be far more complex. There will be many mortgage lenders that won’t do this type of financing. You may need to shop for container home lenders early in the process.

Part of the problem will be the real estate appraisal. There are very few comparable sales in most areas. It’s not like you can just look up what a house sold for down the street to get a comp.

Container homes are just now becoming more mainstream. Determining the fair market value can be a challenge.

Determine Your Foundation Type

In order to build a shipping container home, you will first need to acquire some land. Once you’ve purchased the land, you can then begin to formulate the type of foundation you’ll use.

A trench foundation is an affordable option for creating a concrete foundation. The concrete is poured into a shallow hole in the ground, making it one of the more cost-effective foundations.

A slab foundation is used when the ground is soft and the shipping container needs added reinforcement.

There is also the option of using a pier foundation. A pier foundation uses a series of cylindrical columns to support the structure placed on it.

The columns keep the shipping container from sinking into the dirt, while the elevated home provides a few feet of ground clearance.

The type of soil on your land will determine the foundation options. However, you can expect to spend between five to ten thousand on this process.

Purchase The Shipping Container or Containers

Cost of Shipping Containers

Some folks purchase their containers ahead of the land purchase, and others do not.

There are two options when buying containers – new or used.

A new container is considered a one-time-use container or “one trip” because it only makes one trip to your property.

A used container may have been in service for a few months up to a few years. Used containers often have taken a beating.

You can buy a used container for $2,000-$3000 in most areas. The average cost of shipping a container can range up to $8,000.

Some container builders stack multiple containers against each other in order to create a larger structure.

You may be able to buy two to six containers at once if you plan to create a larger structure with your units.

Installing The Insulation is Crucial

One of the essential aspects of building a container home is installing ample insulation. Unlike a traditional home, you are tasked with insulating a large metal box.

Creating an environment that will keep in the heat can be more challenging

After having your shipping container securely on your foundation, you can start working on the structure to make it livable.

Without the proper insulation, your container will get very chilly in the winter and feel like an oven in the summer. Not having the proper insulation will increase your heating and cooling costs.

You can invest in spray, foam, or blanket insulation to protect your interior. These range in price from $0.50 to $2 per square foot. Many container home builders will also use a combination of insulation techniques.

Amenities Add to Shipping Container Home Pricing

How much to build a shipping container home will largely depend on the finishes you add. Building a container home costs can increase significantly based on your touches.

The amenities in your container home can quickly increase the price. The amenities are part of what makes the cost to build variable.

While the cost of land in your area and the price of a shipping container will be more locked in, what you decide to add will not.

There will be some standard items that most container homes will include, such as heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical, and windows.

Other amenities, however, can vary. Things like:

  • Granite counters vs. Formica
  • Hardwood vs. laminate flooring
  • High-end vs. cheap plumbing fixtures, showers, bathtubs, etc.
  • Custom closets
  • Decking and patios
  • Roofing structures

The list goes on with what you can do to customize a container home. Every addition will impact the cost. Budgeting will be crucial, depending on your financial goals.

Buy a Ready-Made Container Home Instead

Consider a pre-built container house when your estimates for shipping container home pricing are starting to get higher than you imagined.

Some companies specialize in buying and selling used shipping containers as homes. You can browse through their online catalog to find a home that fits your size and budget.

Some container homes start at around $30,000 and go up in price. They come with amenities like kitchens and bedroom spaces, and rooftop patios.

Many companies offer several model designs to choose from based on your design preferences.

While pre-made container housing is a straightforward way to get a move-in-ready container home, don’t forget about other housing costs such as decorating and furniture.

Final Thoughts

A container home can be an excellent option for those looking for affordable housing. It may take some work to find the right place, but it’s worth it.

Understanding how much container homes cost should be one of your priorities. While it will be less than a traditional house, there still can be cost overruns.

You will be far happier in the long run when you’ve nailed down your shipping container home pricing.


About the Author: The above Real Estate information on how much container homes cost was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for 35+ Years.

Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.


How Much Does A Container Home Cost?

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How Much Does A Container Home Cost?


Are you wondering how much a container home costs to build? Find of the building costs for a shipping container home.


Bill Gassett

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Maximum Real Estate Exposure

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