House in a Box for $2,500?

High-end home builders are feeling the housing market pinch. Rather than building lavish mansions, many have either gone out of business or shifted to remodeling or building more modest-priced homes.

One company in particular, Envirocontrol Systems in Montana, traveled wherever they needed to find work. But soon the family-owned company knew they had to do something more permanent if they had any hopes of surviving. They turned to building portable housing. Now, rather than building homes that run $1,500-$1,800/sq. ft., they are building ones that cost $20/sq.ft. The buildings are basically shells that can be assembled within a few hours, with very little manpower. The family sees their potential market as third-world countries where housing is scarce or areas with a population displaced by natural disaster. Events like the Haitie earthquake have raised interest in the portable housing concept. But they can also be used as temporary office space, hunter’s shelters or ice fishing shacks. After some trial and error and a much-needed boost from an outside investor, HabiHut was born. Weighing 400 pounds, packed into a 4’x8’ crate and costing $2,500, the 118 sq.ft. hut can be assembled in a couple of hours with minimal tools. HabiHuts can be combined to create larger structures. The uses for a HabiHut are virtually endless – from water kiosks in remote areas to restroom facilities in national parks. Perhaps a peek into the future housing boom?

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