What Are Shipping Container Homes And Why Are They So Popular Blog Cover

What Are Shipping Container Homes And Why Are They So Popular?

Posted By: January 14, 2016 In Featured

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You’ve probably seen the explosion of shipping container homes in the news recently. In fact it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing them at the moment- even Huffington Post has mentioned them!

Some people just get the concept straight away and want one, whilst others are left wondering what exactly they are and what’s the fuss all about?

I think everyone here at Container Home Plans is guilty of presuming everybody has heard of container homes and that they love the concept…

However we still occasionally meet people who haven’t heard of container homes. So today we have decided to go back to basics and explain exactly what they are and why people are falling in love with this new form of housing.

What Are Shipping Container Homes?

Simply put, shipping container homes are homes which have been built using shipping containers.

These containers can be either brand new or used, and can be positioned and shaped in such a way to create pretty much any style of home you could think about!

One of the first, and best known, container homes was built by Todd and Di Miller back in 2011 in Brisbane.

Graceville Container House 2

© Grand Designs Australia

You can read the in-depth case study we did on their home here.

If you’re still unsure about what shipping container homes look like or how versatile they can be, make sure you check out these 17 container incredible homes.

Just How Popular Are Shipping Container Homes?

As you can imagine, shipping container homes are gaining in popularity everyday as more and more people are finding out about them.

To find out just how popular they are becoming, Woot ran a survey at the start of this year and asked its readers: “Would you ever live in a house made of shipping containers?”.

People had three choices to respond:

  1. Heck yeah. Those are cool.
  2. No way. Those are weird.
  3. I have never heard of such a thing.

I’ve made a chart summarizing the results below, and as you can see, shipping containers are really gaining in popularity.

Would you ever live in a shipping container house poll

The majority of people (61.5%) said that they wanted to live in a container home. Around 25% of people said that they did not want to live in a container home; I think that once they’ve seen these houses, they will change their minds pretty fast!

Last but not least, around 13% of people responded by stating they hadn’t heard of shipping containers. It would be interesting to run the survey again now, because I think this figure would be close to, if not 0%.

Why Do People Want To Build And Live In Shipping Container Homes?

At this point you might be wondering: “why would you use shipping containers to build a home, instead of traditional bricks and mortar?” and “what makes container homes so popular?”.

There are many reasons why container homes are so popular and the reasons are different for each person- but we will take a look at the top five reasons.

1) Price

Without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons why container homes are becoming so popular is because they represent extremely good value for money- and are much more affordable than traditional brick and mortar homes.

We have discussed the cost savings benefits of container homes here and here.

The Cheapest 5 Shipping Container Homes Ever Built Blog CoverIn each of the articles we give examples of real world container homes and discuss how much they cost to build. Many of the container homes discussed cost less than $50,000 to build.

Whilst this doesn’t mean that all container homes are cheap, it’s used to show you just how affordable container homes are.

If you’re looking for examples of more expensive container homes, you should visit this case study, where the container home was recently sold for more than $1,000,000.

2) Eco Friendly

A growing number of people are becoming more environmentally conscious as climate change and its effects are becoming more readily seen.

This has caused a large proportion of people to want to build and live in eco-friendly homes because they don’t want to do further damage to the environment.

Container homes are the perfect eco-friendly home, because they are made from recycled shipping containers. Building a home out of used containers not only helps the environment through recycling, it also means that additional materials (such as bricks and concrete) aren’t used.

In fact, every time a shipping container is recycled we are repurposing around 3,500KG of steel.

How Many Shipping Containers Are There

Yearly Amount Of Containers Left In The US

This supply of used containers is unlikely to run out, as each year more than 500,000 shipping containers are abandoned. Add this growing supply to the already established several million abandoned containers lying across the world and you have a large supply to get building with.

3) Speed of Construction

Price and environmental factors are by far the two most popular reasons why people build homes using shipping containers, but they aren’t the only reasons.

Another great reason why people build homes using shipping containers is that they can be built extremely fast.Riverside Building Shipping Container Office

© Riverside Building Shipping Container Office

When you build using shipping containers you already have the walls, roof and flooring ready made for you! This means your home can be built in as little as one month.

If we look at the Riverside Building Offices, which is part of a large shipping container construction site known as ‘Container City’.

The office block was built using 73 shipping containers, and guess how long it took to make… eight days! Yes, that’s right- it only took eight days to deliver and site the containers. Can you imagine how long a traditional office block made from concrete would have taken to make?

4) They Look Amazing

The second to last reason we are going to discuss to today is how shipping containers look.

Containers of Hope

© Andres Garcia Lachner

I’m sure if you’re a fan of our website, then you will certainly agree that shipping container homes look incredible. Believe me when I say that your new shipping container home will be the envy of your friends and family.

I find shipping container homes so appealing because they have a very modern, modular appearance. In our previous articles you will see containers have been used to create stunning mountain retreats all the way through to small tiny beach huts!

Still not convinced? Why not take a look at our article on the most beautiful 17 shipping container homes built.

5) Off Grid Capabilities

Many of you have probably already heard of the expression ‘off-grid’ but for those of you who are not familiar with the term- it means living in a house which isn’t connected to mains electric.

In the purest sense, it means to live in a home which is self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Earlier on last year we interviewed Brenda Kelly who had built a tiny off grid home using only a 20 foot shipping container.

Tiny Off-Grid Shipping Container PalaceOn top of the shipping container she had fitted 2X135 watt solar panels which give her more than enough power to heat her water and have electricity. In total her ‘tiny container palace’ was built for less than $30,000.

I think off grid container homes will continue to rise in popularity as more and more people are looking to move out of the city and become self-sufficient in the countryside.

If you’re looking for even more reasons why people are building container homes take a look at 6 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Have a Shipping Container Home.


2015 has without a doubt been the breakout year for shipping container homes. Their popularity has been growing for the last several years, but now they have truly reached the mainstream.

Hopefully by now you’re fully aware of shipping container homes and understand exactly what they are.

They are becoming more and more popular due to their eco-friendliness, affordability and incredible aesthetics!

Let us know in the comments below, will you be building your dream shipping container homes this year?

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