Is Shipping Container Construction the Answer to Affordable Housing?
A developer in Ontario, Canada is looking for an angel investor to start a factory that builds affordable shipping container homes in his home city of Windsor. Windsor is across the river from famous ‘Motor Town’ Detroit in the US and, like its more famous neighbour across the river, is a car manufacturing town that has been buffeted by the winds of change. There’s a need for affordable housing for less well paid workers, and Nick Foster believes he has the solution.
Homes for $100k
Foster told his local newspaper the Windsor Star that he figures that once in production he can put a 320 square foot (30 sqm) home together in a factory and then fully install it on site for as little as US$50,000.
A 40ft shipping container itself can cost as little as $4,000 per unit. It then needs windows and doors fitted, insulation and utilities, as well as the inner walls and fixtures such as toilet, shower, kitchen appliances and electrical sockets.
All of this can be done in a factory away from the summer and winter weather that can otherwise disrupt traditional builds. Foster envisages a block of apartments built in this way with 1-2 containers per apartment that can be roomy and comfortable.
As Foster told the Windsor Star,“We don’t need $2-million LaSalle homes, we need $100,000 homes,” he said. “Since when is housing a privilege?”
Windsor and other cities
Windsor replicates other cities around the world with a polarisation of wealth that impacts the way people live. Those who have won the Capitalism game can afford large, expensive houses. Some of those houses are former workers’ tenements that have been merged in city centres, so the rich move in and the poor move out in a process known as gentrification.
The problem for the poor is that they are needed to make cities happen. Where do the police, firemen, teachers and nurses live? What about the bar staff and shop assistants? Must they commute for miles and miles to make life possible for those who can afford to live in an area?
This is why the concept raised by Foster applies well beyond the landlocked city of Windsor. It applies over here too in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Essential workers need decent homes in which to live that they can afford.
Shipping containers – the solution to affordable housing?
As Foster said to the newspaper that containers are just “10,000-pound Legos” that can be put together as housing units. Here at the Gateway Gazette we have touched on high quality yet affordable housing in recent months that proves that just because a home is cheap doesn’t mean it has to be nasty.
Windsor’s council used to regulate against containers as housing but Foster talked them into allowing him to put up a unit as long as it was signed off by an engineer as still strong and structurally sound after conversion with its window and door openings. Other local planners can be encouraged in a similar way too.
As to you? Pop by Gateway Container Sales today and see what repurposed shipping containers we have on offer that could help you with your own real estate development project. Drop us a line and tell us what you have in mind!