Just How Affordable Are Shipping Containers Homes?

Just How Affordable Are Shipping Containers Homes?

Housing prices in Australia have been on the rise year after year. Our nation has some of the highest costs for housing in he world, and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. This means the dream of home ownership is almost becoming unattainable for a lot of people.

It can be a tough dream to make come true if you purchase or build a home the traditional way, but there are some alternatives, such as building a house primarily from shipping containers.

Many of us have heard that building homes out of cargo containers is a growing trend in Australia and around the world. One of the main reasons is they present a cost effective way to build a home, saving thousands on the overall construction total compared to building a house the conventional method.

But just how affordable are shipping container homes really? Do homeowners actually save that much cash when they build a house this less than traditional way?

Let’s take a closer look at shipping container homes and some of the costs incurred in their construction.

What Does Your Average Shipping Container Cost In Australia?

One of the first things to look at when it comes to getting an idea on whether shipping container homes is the way to go, is to look at the prices to buy new or used containers.

Prices will vary depending on where you buy your containers, but we’ll just get the gist of the cost in general and what you might expect to pay.

Obviously brand new containers will be more expensive than used ones, and when it comes to second hand shipping containers, that price will also vary depending on the container’s quality and grade.

For example, a Grade A used shipping container will be in far better condition that a Grade C container, but naturally the price will be higher as well.

A brand new 20ft shipping container can cost anywhere up to $4000-$5000 or more, whereas the same container used might only set you back $2000 or so. You might pick one up for only $1000, but the condition of a used container at that price probably isn’t going to be suitable for building a house out of.

If you’re looking at purchasing 40ft shipping containers, then you can basically double the price, although you’ll often find them for a little less than twice the price.

Shipping Container Home Options

How much money you’ll save on home construction will really depend on just how extravagant you get with size and design of the home.

Some people go really small and basic, making a simple little house out of one container that has seen very little in the way of remodelling and conversion. This is a very cheap housing alternative, but not something that will suit the majority looking to build with containers.

Many companies – including some shipping container retailers – are offering shipping container house plans and construction.

The real advantage of building with shipping containers is that much of the structural work is already in place. The containers just need to be modified to create usable living spaces with insulation, windows and doors, plumbing, bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

Many container homes are somewhat of a hybrid between traditional building methods and shipping containers. Part of the home might be constructed with containers, while other connecting areas are built the conventional way.

Another way you save on the overall construction cost is that much of the container modification can be done off-site within the conversion company’s factory. The finished product is then shipped to your land.

This saves money due to the fact that workers don’t have to travel to and from a construction site every day, plus the build time is much quicker; and we all know that time is money.

Because of their rigid shape, containers homes are a fantastic solution for sloping blocks of land and are a popular building choice for people building on anything other than level ground.

Some builders offer container homes for as little as $12,700 for a small and basic container home, and $75,500 for a 2 bedroom villa.

DIY and Save More Money

If you’re a builder by trade or at least very handle with tools, you can save even more money on your shipping container home build by doing some of the construction yourself.

You might decide to just get a basic conversion of each container done and do most of the fit out yourself. This might include something as detailed as installing the kitchen, depending on your experience and skillset.

If you have some friends or relatives who are also handy with tools, you could do it together and get things done in really quick time.

The more things you can do yourself, the more money you’ll obviously save on labour costs.

Some Costs In Brief

It’s virtually impossible to quote actual prices for the different phases and processes of building a shipping container home, as these will vary from builder to builder and project to project. What we’ll do is list some of the costs to keep in mind, as there’s more to it than just buying up some containers.

  • – Purchase 1 or more new or used shipping containers
  • – Cost of container conversion
  • – Land
  • – Plumbing & electricity
  • – Kitchen & bathrooms
  • – Insulation
  • – Flooring
  • – Fittings
  • – Foundations
  • – Possible external cladding
  • – Internal cladding
  • And more…

These types of costs will be incurred no matter what type of home you build, but it’s worth remembering that you’ll still need to address all these things when you build a house from shipping containers as well.

The Takeaway

You’ll definitely save money when you build with shipping containers, and if you’re really savvy and careful, you could even potentially build a nice home for half the price you would pay for a home built the conventional way.

Of course, while saving money is a huge plus, there are other advantages to building with containers, such as the speed of build, the fact that you’re recycling containers and helping the environment, just to name a few.

If you’re looking to build a house on a budget, then shipping containers are definitely worth looking into.

Description: why shipping containers make great houses
Image from Tiger Containers Sydney
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