Shipping Container Homes Below $10k

PFNC Homes PFNC Homes

Here’s the story: A handful of entrepreneurs nurtured a graduate school business plan into an actual company called PFNC Global Communities.  The acronym stands for “por fin, nuestra casa,” which is translated as “finally, a home of our own.”  PFNC’s purpose is to convert shipping containers into affordable housing for those who most desperately need it around the globe.

Container Home

With operations in New Mexico, PFNC has built a prototype 320-square-foot home.  The home, although small, has room for a kitchen, bath, toilet, and sleeping areas.  It also has windows for natural ventilation, electrical and water systems, and hookups for air conditioning. 

PFNC plans to outfit the homes for under $10,000 USD, but subject to site conditions, land costs, and transportation costs.  To keep prices low, the company will try to sell homes in large quantities, with production planned for early 2009 at an initial capacity of 3000 home per year. 

PFNC has both single family and multifamily options in the works. 

Container Community

Container Multifamily

Photo credits: PFNC Global Communities.

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  • Will

    This is similar to a couple of designs built by the Peabody Trust in the UK. Raines Court ( is a multifamily property that was assembled of pre-made modules and stacked together on site.

    The site work consists of prepping the ground, bringing utility service, and then creating a large scaffold. Trucks and cranes arrive, lift the modules into place, and everything’s completed in a week.

    A little more information here ( which reveals that modular design can look like more than just a stack of cordwood.

    • Preston

      Nice links, Will, I need to write about Raines Court sometime, it’s pretty cool. By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog.

  • Brianne

    This is a great idea, especially for those in third world countries. Maybe even be used after a natural disaster as temporary housing, then re-used for other means later. It’s nice to see college ideas turned into companies.

  • Lisa Thorell

    Hi Preston,

    Very cool project. I particularly like the single family vs multi-family home option..

    Another related project you might check out is the Arial Homes Initiative

    These $6k 380 SF homes, created from modular steel panels insulated with polyurethane, are being built in Mexico and Ghana and have some highly novel

    – Last 50 years
    – Built in one day by 12 people (with exception of concrete pad)
    – Use solar photovoltaic to power CFL lights
    – Most notably, it’s a truly sustainable design in that the people of the villages where these homes are brought are offered manufacturing jobs in the
    :transportable factory” where they help build the steel panels for their own homes.

    That’s the scoop. And btw I truly enjoy my daily Jetson Green!

  • Jeanne Reslan

    I know most American’s was think this is ridiculous, but I think it is brillant. Having traveled to impoverished places, this is a great alternative for safe, healthy shelter.

    Very interesting and enlightening post.

    Jeanne Reslan

  • Anonymous

    Is is possible to bury one? I’m thinking that rather than trying to heat this thing, just burying it and taking advantage of the fact that underground, the temperatrue is always about 65 degrees.

    • John Sheridan

      Burying one is a great idea. I would imagine it would generate additional safety concerns (for it would be easy to break into the skylights), but some bar to cover the windows could do the trick. Another downside is that it would be much more difficult to connect the unit to a water source. I also don’t know how it would affect the HVAC system.

      • Kurgen99

        A buried one would make a nice emergency bunker. I would tell my wife it was for low probability emergencies like asteroids or zombies, but I would use it to hide from her.

  • George B

    I lived in Turkey after one of their earth quakes and they could have used a stockpile of containers to house all the displaced people. This makes a lot of sense. If there was come kind of water storage system like a culvert pipe stood up on end in the back with the rain water draining off the roof funneled to it would help with the H20 needs of the residence. As far as insulation goes, I saw another group that was using a spray on ceramic coating that had an R22 rating. Similar technology to what they use on the Space Shuttle. Fund raising for these would be tough if you are a 501C3.But,It seems like the shipping companies could donate these and get a tax right off for them. A little pressure from the residence of LA on the city about the eye sore these create might motivated them to give you some. If you do a news letter add me to your list. I have volunteered with Doctors with out Borders and NW Medical Teams as well as other groups so am into where you are coming from.

  • John McPhaul


    Hello! I really lik your container homes, how much does it cost to get a copy of the design?

    John McPhaul
    Detroit, MI

  • http://WWW.MEGESHELTERS.COM niaho

    overy good!

  • oscar diaz

    wish u the best Pablo!

  • Anonymous

    Looks great – see for South Africa’s first container home developing – slow but sure….
    God bless you all!

    • Nom

       website not working  ols help i want to container home in south africa

    • Nom

       website not working  ols help i want to container home in south africa

  • Gene Rizzardi

    You guys should be getting on board to help Haiti, this would be a great solution to help get them back on their feet, When the economy improves maybe they can be recycled and made into something else.

  • Anonymous

    I provide containers which can be modified into these homes and basically anything else you can think of. Please visit my website at if you have any questions about these containers or would like one or know any one in need of one, please feel free to email me or contact some one on the website.

  • Rachael Wood
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