How much do shipping container homes cost in South Africa?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
The container garden studio in Johannesburg , A4AC Architects A4AC Architects Small houses Масив Бежевий
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It certainly is a great time to be alive for those of us interested in design and architecture. How so? Because we are witnessing one of the greatest architectural evolutions: the rise of shipping container homes. Using steel intermodal containers as structural element, shipping container homes have become one of the trendiest housing / prefabricated home options due to a variety of advantages – and it has taken South Africa, like the rest of the world, by storm. 

Consider that the average house price in South Africa is about R1 million. Well, seeing as a customisable and transportable container home can start at around R100 000, lower pricing seems to be the main bonus point when talking about shipping container homes.

But let’s delve a bit deeper…  

1. South African shipping container homes are cheap and quick

We’ve already established the fantastic price cut that opting for container homes affords us. But let’s take a look at another advantage: the fact that millions of families in South Africa are in need of housing. 

More than 2 million homes may have been built thanks to the government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), yet there’s still a major backlog of families waiting for homes. This has led to various companies implementing low-cost housing solutions, and one of the best brainwave ideas turned out to be container structures. 

Container homes are quick to set up, sturdy, and much cheaper than building your average brick-and-mortar houses. If successfully implemented, shipping container houses might decrease the significant housing shortage problem currently faced by so many families across the country. 

And let’s not forget that container units are fully transportable – that means you can just about choose where you want to settle in one. 

2. The price of South African shipping container homes

Just like regular homes, the final price of a shipping container can be dependent on many factors like size, company, quality of materials, etc. For example, for a single-bedroom container home you can be expected to pay about R 109 500, 00. And for one featuring a bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom, the price can increase to about R 146 000, 00.

Factor in the costs of delivery (about R 3500 – R 7000 within Gauteng), and you’re still nowhere near the price you’d pay for a traditionally built house! 

3. Applying for a loan for a South African shipping container house

Just like regular houses, you need money to secure yourself a shipping container house. To ensure you can afford your choice, it’s important to calculate all your monthly expenses and those involved in buying your first home. 

As a rule of thumb, your bond repayments, along with taxes and property insurance, shouldn’t exceed 25% to 30% of your gross income.

Fortunately, many of South Africa’s leading banks are ready to help you calculate your loan for buying your first shipping container house. See what assistance you can obtain from ABSA, Nedbank, WesBank, and Standard Bank

4. Other creative uses for shipping container homes in South Africa

Another terrific advantage of shipping containers is that they are not only for residential purposes. With the right designs and fixtures, containers can be transformed into anything from retail shops and cafés to restaurants and so much more.

Just go for a stroll along a trendy neighbourhood (i.e. Johannesburg’s Melville, The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town) and see how many container structures you can spot! 

Also, if you were dreaming about owning an extra living space for rental or AirBnB purposes, the 2019 new town planning scheme now allows for a second dwelling without a consent use application! Read Shipping containers: The best option for a second home in Johannesburg for more information.

5. Where to search for your perfect shipping container house

No need to contact one of the many overseas companies specialising in shipping container structures – A4AC Architects is right here in Johannesburg! 

A4AC Architects sports an ever-expanding portfolio of various projects completed right throughout Africa. Along with refurbishing old shipping containers, these experts are also at the forefront when it comes to providing architectural plans, interior design services, construction documentation, management services, and many more. 

Let's see a few more images of shipping container homes for additional inspiration…

The more you know, the better! Thus, see these 9 things you should know before building a container home

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