Is it Cheaper to Build with Shipping Containers?

Are you planning on building a new home? Have you heard about shipping container houses? They’re all the rage in the property market right now. Most people are attracted to shipping container homes because they’ve heard it significantly reduces building costs. You get more houses for your money – what’s wrong with that? However, there’s more to shipping container homes than you think. This brief guide walks you through everything you need to know about the costs of building a shipping container home versus a traditional house. So, is it cheaper to build with shipping containers? Let’s find out!

Is it Cheaper to Build with Shipping Containers?

A Shipping Container Home Might Not Be Much Cheaper

In short, the reality is that it isn’t much cheaper to build a shipping container home than using traditional building materials. You’ll need to pay for labor, containers, and transportation, and let’s not forget about the water bill, utilities, services, property tax, and insurance either.

What are the Costs Involved with Shipping Container Homes?

Still, container homes offer a unique lifestyle you don’t get with a traditional home. The biggest contributors to the cost of building a shipping container home are the materials and labor involved in the construction process.

In some cases, you might get away with construction costs as low as $25,000, especially if you have access to cheap shipping containers. According to experts, the average shipping container home cost is approximately $150 per square foot.

It might surprise you that it’s around three times the cost of building a home the traditional way. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem as appealing, right? However., there are some benefits to building a shipping container home that make the additional cost worthwhile.

Advantages of Shipping Container Homes


Shipping container homes offer you a sustainable housing option. They’re sturdy, and the steel home design means they’ll last much longer than a traditional house with a wooden or tile roof.

Low Maintenance

Container homes also have lower maintenance costs than traditional homes which can help save money. They don’t have the same repair and paint demands and offer better insulation than conventional homes, making them quite eco-friendly.

It Might Be Challenging to Get Permits for Your Container Home

One of the core issues with building a container home comes from accessing the permits required to start building. Getting permits is especially challenging if you want to build your house by stacking multiple shipping containers.

The Verdict – Is it Cheaper to Build with Shipping Containers?

So, is it cheaper to build with shipping containers? No, it’s not. The additional building costs and challenges with obtaining permits make it a pain in the neck. However, when you have the home built and ready to move in, you can expect a long-lasting house that stands up to environmental challenges, like hurricane winds, and requires less maintenance.

A 400-square-foot container house costs as little as $30,000 to build, while a 2,500-square-foot container house could cost over $200,000. The final costs of your container home depend on the following factors.

  • The size of the home you want to build.
  • Whether you’re building in an urban or rural area.
  • The quantity and quality of the building materials.
  • The cost of the land.

In general, you’re better off going with a traditional home vs a shipping container home.

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