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Alternative Housing Start-Up Schemes

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Alternative Housing Start-Up Schemes

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Whilst the housing market has long been seen as a solid investment for those unwilling to bear the ups-and-downs of the stock market, the past few years have made many think twice before sinking their funds into what was once seen as a sure thing.

Successive housing crises have diminished confidence and, with conflicting reports regarding the market's continued growth, new investors are beginning to look elsewhere. However, particularly in cities where housing shortages are endemic, both investors and start-ups are beginning to get a little creative, and confidence in housing investments is once again growing.

Two major European cities that have both growing populations combined with long standing housing shortages are Amsterdam and Berlin; and both have seen new companies tackle these issues in refreshing ways that have drawn investment and a renewed confidence in the housing market.

Self Contained Student Living

One solution to Amsterdam's long running housing shortage is the Keetwonen, a housing complex created exclusively of shipping containers and billed as the largest of its kind. Completely self contained and providing students with all mod-cons, including high speed internet, this novel solution has attracted interest from around the world whilst providing great value housing for the city's growing student population. On top of this, the project has attracted countless students of architecture to its innovative structural design.

Inspired and directly influenced by the Keetwonen is Berlin's very own solution to a similar problem. The city's population is growing exponentially and the local government seem unwilling or unable to address the issue. With this in mind, a local entrepreneur has made it his mission to provide affordable and attractive housing for nearly 300 students in a combination of single, double and triple container homes.

The premise is simple; the containers are delivered to the site which is located within easy reach of the city's universities, insulated and fitted with large windows such as those found at Neuffer Windows, connected to mains electricity, water and other services and, with a little landscaping of the surrounding area, the homes are completely liveable and provide something of an idyllic retreat within the city. A single container with kitchen/living space, bedroom, bathroom and balcony costs around €400, a welcome price in the face of Berlin’s sky-rocketing rental prices and great value in comparison to traditional apartments.

Berlin's EBA51 project is set for completion in the autumn of 2014, however, interested investors still have time to jump on board and be part of this innovative start-up. There are plenty of details to be found on the project website and more than a modicum of inspiration for anyone looking to get involved with their own container housing project. It seems then, that with just a little imagination, confidence in the housing market may return, wherever you may be.

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