About 10 years ago, a slow-moving disaster struck the United States that impacted virtually every community across the country: the housing bubble.
Throughout the nation, housing prices increased significantly, growing with inflation by 50% and even 100% more. Despite these high costs, people were buying homes at record levels — but in the late 2000s, home prices started to fall, homeowners began being forced into foreclosures, and banks and lenders were holding all kinds of bad debt. This housing crisis wrecked the entire U.S. economy and there are still some problems 10 years later.
Nowadays, though there isn’t nearly an economic crisis like there was 10 years ago, housing remains a priority across the country, and not everyone has the ability to afford a great home. Thankfully, some unexpected pieces of inventory could help less fortunate individuals across the country find comfortable, affordable housing options.
There are currently 17 million cargo containers in circulation across the globe. However, only 6 million containers are actually in use. Which means 11 million containers are just sitting there… not being utilized in any way. Organizations and individuals are trying to change that by finding innovative ways to turn these plain, metal cargo rectangles into livable and affordable housing options.
According to the Miami Herald, in South Miami, a venture backed by a national real estate group has recently won permission to construct a compact house out of two shipping containers, which will be specifically reserved for low-income buyers.
The team behind the 480-square-foot container home hopes to produce many more modular, attractive, affordable housing options that can fit on small lots scattered across Miami-Dade County.
“There are these shotgun lots everywhere [in low-income neighborhoods],” said Evan Fancher, director of the South Miami anti-blight distract. “There are these right-of-ways and weird corner lots, and no builder will touch them.”
As the area struggles with one of the country’s largest housing gaps between rich and poor, tiny lots filled with container homes listed for around $150,000 could drastically improve the housing market. Keep in mind, just because these homes are constructed out of metal shipping containers, doesn’t mean they aren’t up to standard, too. Condos in Florida are required to undergo public inspection at least once every 40 years, and these container home builders are doing everything they can to ensure everything is up to code, as well.
Certain container homes can be even more energy-efficient than traditional wood-framed homes built to minimum code standards.
“The challenge for people living in America is that we have a very vulnerable housing class right now — whether it’s people living on limited incomes or fixed incomes,” said Paul Galvin, chairman and CEO of Brooklyn-based construction company SG Blocks, which repurposes millions of shipping containers. “Many of them are forced to live in areas where there are persistent climate threats from the ocean, tornadoes, and hurricanes. What we’re interested in is housing families in steel structures rather than wood structures and putting people in really safe environments that are both sustainable and longer-lasting.”