Shipping container housing for Expats


With the costs of housing in the Philippines rising at the same time gambling ownership on the survival of marriage many Expat’s simply permanently rent as there is no incentive to buy a house that they can’t own. At the same time I wonder why rent as well especially with the last week looking at the container living concept again.

I have come up with an idea but ideally need feedback before I will take it any further. Basically it would be a case of looking to lease a large lot of land or buy it and tie contracts to it so it can’t be sold. The idea being that people lease long term a percentage of the lot which will have a sited converted container. They own the container 100% or can have it as part of the long-term lease. If they decide to sell the container if owned can be removed or sold to the next tenant.

So what is in it for me? well it would be a small monthly income for us here but at the same time the containers would form up a small community of Expats for either full-time or part-time usage. This would also mean “YOU” can rent your container out as well. I am mainly looking to keep costs down on the site as this would allow people to use the properties even for a weekend get away if not living there full-time. The main thing the expats would get is a secure home in a community of similar people and all going well near a beach. Secure in the fact its a container but also the ownership is yours it can’t be taken away as the lease is tied to the lot.

My big question is it something others are interested in? I have had 2 other interests since I brought it up with people looking to live on a fixed budget where this would work out as cheap as renting a small room except I am looking at a minimum of 40ft long containers which will offer 2/3 bedrooms, small garden and parking for each container and a roof deck.


7 comments for “Shipping container housing for Expats

  1. Tropicalpenpals
    March 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    The initial problem of containers is price here in the Philippines but at the same time they are quick to construct as housing blocks. So can see it being a thing of the future.

  2. Swarfy
    March 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I understand the concept Matt but frankly the same old stumbling block is land ownership, you can`t own it either, therefore can`t guarantee tenure, so the ownwr of the 40 foot container may be faced with re- locating, to where, at what cost, crane hire, low bed truck, new ground works, power connection, the perceived advantages are quickly negated by the potential spiralling costs. Presuming the expat has a filipino partner, wife or boyfriend, no locl i have ever met, or for that matter that you have ever met would live in a shipping container, they would be laughed off the island. Good luck with the concept, though it would be better suited to a caravan club in Skegness, bingo and beer!

    • Tropicalpenpals
      March 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Already does work here there are resorts with container chalets. The photos are also a development on Mactan that currently exists as well. Can’t own the land but you can lease it long term which is the point as you can just leave it there and based on the relatively cheap cost of construction even if you lived there for only 10 years could pretty much be written off if decided to just leave it on the lot if you didn’t want to continue the contract lease.

      The other thing is I already have a supply of people waiting for containers who are not only prepared to live in them but construct the houses from them. Its something that is growing in demand and like most things always fall foul early on like “the world is round” until people prove them otherwise. It would cost around P200 – P250k to construct a 1 bed apartment from a 40ft similar in costs to hollowblock at the same time the completion time would be shorter and the finish higher quality for the same money.

      • Lovin_u_so
        May 24, 2011 at 1:09 am

        Just stumbled on this site….I’d like to ask what style home your saying using hallow block would cost P200 t up tp P250K.

        Just asking because I have designed a home to be built in Zamboanga del Sur….
        It is 180 sqm.=  24′ x 24′
        2 bedroom,,,, kithen ,,,,large sala ,,,,, cr,,,,,,,Hallway…..

        Total cost will be not more then ….P 150K…..
        This is using Concret Slab Flooring , Hallow Block walling to 4″ height, and Marine Plywood above the block…
        Flat Slab Roof at the 12 ” height…..

        In time it wuill also have Solar panels and Wind powered elect. ( but that cost is not figured into the construction as yet, But I have been in contact with a LOCAL Solar Company that says my power supplies for what I have in Appliances and Wattage should not cost more then another P45,000.)

        Maybe it just depends on the location you building it in !  

        • Tropicalpenpals
          May 24, 2011 at 1:42 am

          Location is important as labour prices fluctuate depending on area as well as materials.

        • Tropicalpenpals
          May 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

          Good luck on the solar side as well though what did they quote for the wattage and battery bank size?

    • Tropicalpenpals
      March 2, 2011 at 10:45 am

      The other angle to this is cheap rental accommodation such as pension house construction as it could be done in phases keeping the costs down but each module would be finished faster allowing the saving on initial costs as they can be rented out earlier.