Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Used cars are cheaper by weight than a house structure

with 2 comments

This is something I have wanted to check for a while now. The info used for the graph is all very rough, but it gives the general idea anyway. A used car is cheaper by weight than the structure of a house (which excludes the foundation). Apparently you can get a certain brand new car for less by weight than a new house structure!

The price of the typical used car is just eyeballed from looking at the kijiji ads, but for sources of the rest of the info used, see links below.

Why does this matter? Well think about it for a second: Modern Car = extremely sophisticated, accurately made piece of machinery made from expensive materials. House = bunch of wood and junk kind of slapped together.

Buildings should be very cheap compared with cars on a weight to weight basis, right? If these things were anywhere near each other in cost on a weight to weight basis, that would be remarkable enough.

Indeed, the Tata Nano is an extraordinary car, but the principle here is still very sound. It’s still a freaking car, and extraordinary piece of manufactured stuff, sold at the usual profit margins etc. Also, as you can see, a cheap used normal car is still going to usually be cheaper than a used house structure. In some areas of the world cars last for >35 years (with maintenance, I guess that might tip the scales). A typical house structure in North America is built to last ~40 years.

Ladies and gentlebeans, this situation makes no sense. Clearly the housing and construction market is totally messed up, maybe because innovation has been deliberately prevented for probably more than a hundred years.

But wait – why not apply the lessons learned and technology used with cars to build housing?

That’s exactly what prefab was and partly still is and today, even despite the government’s and site-built industry’s attempts to destroy the idea, it is cheaper and better. I have read several times that you can get a house that is exactly as good for 30% less. You’d think that would be something that the government would be trying to encourage or something. If you were silly enough to think the government is actually working for we, the people.

I’ll grant that you can probably save a lot of money by using plywood floors or something, but that doesn’t change things by an order of magnitude.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Building-Homes-Extensions-2333/House-weight.htm
http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24928
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20030313_cabuilders.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Focus_%28North_America%29
http://www.ontariocontractors.com/buildcalc.htm minus 18,000 for the cost of the foundation

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Written by gregor

May 2, 2011 at 17:09

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I like this article 🙂 Cheers ~~

    Maiah

    October 12, 2011 at 06:23

  2. I agree. This must be discussed. Thanks author.

    Used Cars Australia

    October 12, 2011 at 20:12


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