Are Container Homes Really Cheaper Than Traditional Homes?

Monday, March 16th 2020, 1:49 pm
By: News On 6

Container Homes

If you’ve ever been interested in DIY homes, look no further.

The real estate industry is a complicated one that leaves many people struggling to figure out what kind of home they should get and where. Because of this, many people have started to create homes out of a variety of things.

Among some of the most popular items used for homes are shipping containers. Shipping containers are large enough to inhabit, but how much does it cost to build a shipping container home?

Keep on reading to learn about the cost of container homes before you decide to make one!

What Are Shipping Containers?

Shipping containers are generally used for shipping large quantities of items. If you’ve ever seen a boat with a plethora of large, metal boxes, those are shipping containers. They’re massive and can store a variety of things, including objects as large as vehicles.

Thanks to their size and affordability, many people have started making homes out of shipping containers. However, they’re not as widely available today as they were in the past. This has brought many people to question whether they’re cheaper than traditional homes.

The Cost of a Shipping Container

There’s no question that a shipping container can make a great home, but there are many factors that go into their cost. Similar to a traditional house, the cost of a container will vary depending on the demand for it.

The price of a container will also vary depending on its size and condition. A smaller, worn down container will cost as low as $2,000 whereas a large container in good condition can go for $6,000.

When you compare the cost of a shipping container to a house, it seems like you’re saving hundreds of thousands. In most cases, you will save a ton of money with a house that’s made from a shipping container!

The main thing that you’ll have to consider is how large you want the home to be. If you make a small home out of a single container, you won’t be spending much at all. However, a home with 4-6 units could cost you well over $50,000, and that doesn’t include the work you’ll need to put into the containers.

One container generally isn’t large enough for most people, unless you’re comfortable with living in something the size of a small trailer. Depending on who you buy the containers from, you may be able to get a discount if you purchase multiple at once.

Building a Shipping Container Home

Most of the costs will come from building the home instead of purchasing the containers. You’ll need to pay for things like the land, foundation, insulation, and remodeling.

One of the first things you should do before purchasing the containers is create a blueprint of how you’d like the house to look. From there, you can figure out where you’ll need to cut out spaces for windows and doors.


The cost of land will vary depending on where you’d like to build the home. You can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000-$15,000 for a single acre of land.

If you plan on building a small home, you may not need any more than 1 acre. If you already have land, don’t worry about spending any more money.


Having a strong foundation will keep your shipping container home stable and prevent it from getting damaged. The cost of the foundation will be around $5,000-$6,000 for a container. However, you’ll likely pay more if you have multiple containers.


Insulation is used to keep homes warm in the winter, which is especially important in a home made of metal. Using wood, foam, blankets, and panels, a professional can install insulation for $0.50-$2 per square foot. You can attempt to install it yourself for much cheaper, but it’s best to hire someone.

Domestic Installations

Domestic installations are everything else that makes a house a house. Windows, doors, plumbing, electrical systems, flooring, and roofing are all domestic installations. Each of these can cost you well over $5,000, which ends up being over $20,000 if you’re making the house as livable as possible.

Things to Consider

You’ll need to look at the pros and cons of shipping container homes to determine whether one would be suitable for you. If you’re a person that loves DIY projects, making a house out of shipping containers could be something that you work towards.

However, someone who has a large family may be better off getting a traditional home. While making a shipping container home can be an affordable alternative to a traditional home, it will require a lot of work to complete. You also won’t have access to something like a mortgage to afford the house.

The most important things you’ll need to think about are where you’d like to build one, how large you want it to be, and whether you’re going to buy new or used containers. You’ll then be able to compare prices and figure out what your total cost will be.

Start Comparing the Cost of Container Homes to Traditional Homes

Now that you know how much it costs to make a shipping container home, you should compare the cost of container homes to traditional homes if you’re looking to save money. Most traditional homes will cost several hundreds of thousands whereas a container home can cost less than $100,000.

Start looking at homes in the area in which you’re interested in living. If the homes are too expensive, a container home may be a better option for you.

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