From the WSJ:

Here’s a rarity: A $39,900 house in Manhattan’s West Village, where townhomes often go for millions.

On Monday afternoon at the corner of Washington and Charles Streets in the West Village, entrepreneur Michael de Jong stood in a winter coat, giving tours of one of his 320-square-foot MEKA Luxury Modular Homes, which took about five days to assemble on-site. Sadly, for NYC bargain hunters, the home’s site is only temporary. The house, made from a shipping container, is on display there until the end of the month.

The West Village open house, which is set up in a vacant lot next to a bike shop owned by one of Mr. Jong’s friends, is an American coming-out party of sorts for MEKA homes. The company, formed a year ago, is based in Toronto. The homes are built for $24,000 apiece in a factory in the eastern Chinese seaport of Ningbo. Meka’s only sold 10 units so far–mostly in Canada–and are looking for a foothold in the city.

Mr. Jong says he wants American consumers to think of his homes not as houses so much as well-designed luxury products. To that end, they have modern-looking finishes, smooth surfaces, clean, no-nonsense bamboo wood flooring and a deck made out of the cut-out side of the shipping container. The walls are mostly glass picture windows.

“It’s modern-looking, sexy, sleek,” he says. “It’s a product design, not a housing design.”

“American tourists said, ‘I don’t have million dollars to buy a condo on the beach. But I do have $200,000,” he said. For that, you can buy a piece of cheap land and put a 3-bedroom (made of four shipping containers) MEKA house up on it in a few weeks, instead of spending months or years building a “stick-built” house from the ground up.

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