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England: Japan’s biggest housebuilder to enter UK market with government funding

The UK Government has backed a multi-million pound deal that will see Japan’s biggest housebuilder move into the UK housing market with immediate effect.

Sekisui House will work with Homes England and Urban Splash to deliver thousands of new homes across England.

Considered to be a pioneer of modern methods of construction (MMC), the company builds homes in factories and then ships them out to sites.

The Japanese firm has invested £22 million of its own money, with £30m of equity and debt funding coming from the government’s Home Building Fund, administered through Homes England.

The £90m deal, which has been facilitated by lead real estate and financial advisor JLL, comprises a total new investment of £55m into regeneration company Urban Splash’s ‘House’ development business.

Noel McKee, founder of We Buy Any Car, has also invested in the new partnership and will take an incremental 5% stake.

Sekisui House president Yoshihiro Nakai said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to work together with Homes England and Urban Splash to establish our operations and help to create outstanding communities in the UK.

“Using modern methods of construction to build high quality homes with short build-times is one of our company’s great strengths. Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing social issues in the UK, and I want to see us play our part effective immediately. These operations can also help bring vitality to UK regions, and we will work to make the strongest connections with the local communities.”

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said the deal provides a significant boost to the UK’s modular housing industry and will help to speed up production of much-needed new homes.

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He added: “Sekisui House bring with them a proven track record in harnessing the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building. Backed by government investment, today’s announcement will support our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.”

Homes England chair Sir Edward Lister said: “When Homes England launched last year we said we’d disrupt the housing market to increase the pace of construction. By helping bring one of the world’s largest and most innovative housebuilders to UK shores, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. By creating a more diverse landscape – where smaller builders such as Urban Splash get a stronger foothold – we’re rebuilding the building industry; driving up quality and improving consumer choice.”

Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham added: “We believe that there is a real opportunity in the UK housebuilding industry. We hope to leverage our 25 years of place-making experience and our recent investments into modular housing by bringing in new partners; having looked far and wide we chose Sekisui House from Japan because of the company’s unrivalled global experience in modular construction and shared values and philosophy that we are making homes not units, and a joint belief in the need for a green future.

“We are incredibly excited about the accelerated production of much-needed homes and evolving traditional practices as we embrace the benefits of innovative offsite construction. I hope it will establish us as the housing partner of choice for landowners – both public and private.”

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Source: Scottish Housing News

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