Posts Tagged ‘container housing’

Manufactured Homes Shunned by City for Higher Cost Container Housing

January 12th, 2019 Comments off



This is historic,” said San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, per the Mercury News.


Councilman Johnny Khamis expressed what they described as sticker shock, saying, “This seems exorbitant for recycled metal boxes, quite frankly.”

The price per unit? The ‘all in’ cost is said to be some $600,000 for a 250 square foot container house, which Rachel VanderVeen, a deputy director in the city’s Housing Department, said was $2,500 per square foot.

There are several things that may be described as “historic” in this case, which on the surface seems to be an disgraceful example of wasted taxpayer resources, more insult to manufactured homes, and what could be some levels of corruption.

This plan in San Jose originally was supposed to involve the use of manufactured homes, per KTVU, a Fox News affiliate. That media report said, “The project was to initially put temporary manufactured home[s] on Evans Lane. After pushback from neighbors, it’s now evolved into permanent shipping container-sized apartments for the homeless.

To set the context, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 report of July 2018 data said that the average price of a single section manufactured home in the Western U.S. was “$59,300.” That’s compared to the national average of a single sectional HUD Code manufactured home of some “$52,000,” per the same Census report.



Regional reports reflect a higher cost in the Western U.S. than some other part of the nation.


Rephrased, even allowing for estimated site and higher California costs, this project could have had some 7 to 8 larger – and federally certified – manufactured homes for the same cost as one tiny container housing unit. That sounds outrageous on its face, if not outright shady.



Click on the graphic above to download the data at about double the size shown above.


The proposal is said to have a few more “hurdles, including securing city funding from the council in February. But the project, the Planning Commission said in a recent memo to the council, furthers the city’s long-term goals to get more of its 4,000 or so homeless people off the streets,” according to the Mercury News. 

So, there still may be time to change this #nettlesome outcome.

And are residents of San Jose really going to accept recycled container units over new manufactured homes? If so, manufactured home professional readers, there is more work to be done in that area about our industry’s image than you may realize.



For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.


The Mercury News noted that “In Oakland, for instance, people have purchased shipping container homes for well under $100,000.”

In what may be a different and unrelated project, Bloomberg reported over 2 years ago that “a billionaire” real estate developer named John Sobrato was behind an effort to bring container housing for “200 micro-apartments for homeless and low-income renters in Santa Clara…” That should raise concerns over what may be occurring behind-the-scenes in this case in nearby San Jose, CA.

Given that a HUD PD&R had issued a favorable report on manufactured homes being used as infill in nearby Oakland, this would look to be another ideal case for a city to embrace enhanced preemption for HUD Code manufactured homes.




Using manufactured homes in a case like this one could:

  • house more people,
  • provide more space per household,
  • for a lower cost per unit and per square foot, and
  • could accomplish that more rapidly, in part, due to federally mandated “enhanced preemption” provided by law, as a result of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. See the related reports, further below the byline and notices.
  • And per third-party, university level research, those manufactured homes could appreciate side-by-side with any conventional housing nearby.

Affordable housing, taxpayer, industry, policy, and other advocates – this is another brisk wake up call. If they are using the terminology in these reports correctly, this is possibly severe ignorance, prejudice, corruption or some combination of those factors afoot in this matter.


The proverbial ‘something stinks’ isn’t somewhere overseas, it may dwell in the back yard of a city in supposedly broad-minded Silicon Valley. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)



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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

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Redefining Concept of Home Could Help Tackle Housing Crisis, Daly Examined

June 30th, 2017 Comments off

John Daly, photo credit, Much Rack, collage credit,

Americans aren’t alone in the quest for affordable housing.  John Daly, with the Irish Examiner lays out a vision of how “Redefining the concept of ‘home’ could help tackle the housing crisis.”

If Daly and his fellow Irishmen could compare and contrast what they are excited about with the modern manufactured homes available in the U.S., they might think at first blush it was blarney.

Americans should feel fortunate to have the HUD Code option, as you’ll soon see as Daly’s vision is examined.

Daly says, “With the housing crisis in Ireland and elsewhere across western society set to remain one of the major social issues of the early 21st century, the time to redefine the meaning of ‘home’ is clearly at hand.”

Since the late 1990s, the transformation of shipping containers into a variety of accommodation options has gone from quirky and eccentric into a viable source of alternative low-cost housing,” Daly writes.  The Daily Business News recently spotlighted American versions of container housing, at this link here.


Daly points to, “Project Ripple, a 2014 social housing project constructed from a 3.7sq m container was built on the grounds of Dublin’s Irish Museum of Modern Art over three days.” That would be equal to a spartan 39.8265 square feet, per Google’s calculator.

Daly notes that container housing is catching on here in the U.S. and down under, in Australia.

With an estimated 30 million unused shipping containers all around the world, a serviceable unit can be bought for €2,000, measuring 2.4m wide, 2.6m high, and either 6m or 12m longHigh-cube containers with increased ceiling height are priced up to €3,000,” he said.


Daly writes that “People are choosing to live in a different way, and innovation within the property market in Ireland has not kept pace. People are moving away from the notions of permanency or lifetime debt, and in a more mobile society, there is a need for flexible approaches to home ownership,” Carol Tallon with the Ripple Project said. This container photo and those that follow are credit to, and are provided under fair use guidelines.

A check on Project Ripple yielded the photos above and those that follow below on this page from the website. There you  can find the following.


While more costly than U.S. made HUD Code manufactured homes, these container units are less costly and faster to complete than on-site construction. Daly writes that, “Paul Harvey, director of property development for Travelodge, said: “The containers are fitted out to include everything we offer in the rooms at a traditionally built hotel. You simply won’t be able to tell the difference…While a traditional 100-bed hotel cost the firm £5m to build at the time, the new design came in at £4.5m, with construction reduced from 40 weeks to 30.” Irish Ripple Container House, SelfBuild.

While the initial aim of project RIPPLE was to come up with a low-cost model of housing that could be rolled out quickly and without the long lead-in time that traditional housing requires, it became clear that this approach contained its own unique challenges in Ireland. Our climate demands greater levels of insulation, and given the size of the container, it had to be external rather than internal,” states SelfBuild.

RippleContainerHouse, Interior1SelfBuildPostedDailyBusinessNewsModularPrefabManufacturedHomeProNews

Ripple Container House photo. About 320 square feet, much like the tiny houses being promoted in the U.S. and Canada. A U.S. 14×70 HUD Code manufactured home is nearly 3 times as spacious, for similar total dollars and less than half the cost per square foot.

Compare and Contrast the Costs with HUD Code Manufactured Home

RippleContainerHouse, Interior2SelfBuildPostedDailyBusinessNewsModularPrefabManufacturedHomeProNews

Daly says that other projects using containers have been started by others since the Ripple prototype was made. Ripple Container House photo. Looking from the ‘living area’ past the galley style kitchen to the beds.

The site then states, “The same home traditionally built would cost €55,000 but a 40ft shipping container can be converted into a fully-compliant home from €25,000 direct labour or €35,000 using a contractor.”

RippleContainerHouse, InteriorBeds3SelfBuildPostedDailyBusinessNewsModularPrefabManufacturedHomeProNews

Mom? Dad? Do you have any kids at home? Do you want some…privacy? Ripple Container House, about 320 square feet.

At today’s exchange rates, per Google calculator, that yields ‘site built’ cost would be $62,922.75 in U.S. dollars.  The contracted price for about 320 square feet (nominal 8’x40’ container) $40,042.28 in U.S. dollars.

As was previously reported on the Daily Business News

U.S. Census Bureau Manufactured Home Statistics

The average sales price of a single sectional manufactured home as of Dec. 2016, according to the Census Bureau, was $49,900. A 14×70 foot single section manufactured home is about 924 square feet – which is a typical model, although the 16 X 80 is a more popular size.  Those homes are made to stringent standards under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code for manufactured homes, which turned 41 earlier this month. Using the smaller 14×70 size to be conservative, that works out to be some $54.00 per square foot.”


Once you’ve spent some time in 320 square feet, imagine what life would be like when you moved into a 14×70 that is almost triple the floor space. Can you hear the family saying, ‘Man! This is LIVING!’ Photo credits are as shown.

That Ripple container house – as ‘cool’ as it looks to many in housing hungry Ireland and elsewhere – is about $125.13 per square foot.

The U.S. Army reportedly did a study some years ago to determine what was a good size home for a family of 4.  Sources say the answer was about 900 square feet.  That’s about the size of a single section 14×70.

Ireland? Americans? Are the facts speaking loud enough to hear them clearly? ## (News, Analysis)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

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Modular Housing Continues in Vancouver

December 31st, 2013 Comments off

According to, modular housing and container housing will continue to expand in Vancouver in 2014, but will be joined by other innovative styles including duplexes, coach houses and stacked housing. Row houses offer the individuality of being distinct from a condo, but as a high-density form, fit well in single-family neighborhoods, and will become more prevalent, MHProNews has learned. As this British Columbia, Canada city becomes increasingly popular, attracting people from other parts of the globe, as well as Canada, housing costs will continue to rise, leading to more smaller homes.

(Photo credit: Wincrief Homes, Canada)