Japanese developer enters UK housing market

Japan’s largest housebuilder Sekisui House has entered the UK housing market with a £90m partnership which will see it take a 35% stake in Urban Splash’s modular housing business.

The deal seeks to deliver thousands of new homes using modern methods of construction, working with the Manchester-based business and Homes England.

Sekisui House has invested £22m of new equity, with £30m of equity and debt coming from the government’s Home Building Fund through Homes England. Urban Splash has contributed the remaining £38m.

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

Sekisui House is a pioneer of modern methods of construction, where homes are built in factories and shipped out to sites. It has delivered more than 2.4m homes worldwide, with 485 sales offices operating in China, Singapore, Australia and the US.

Yoshihiro Nakai, president and representative director of Sekisui House, said: “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.”

Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “We hope to leverage our 25 years of placemaking experience and our recent investments into modular housing by bringing in new partners.

“Having looked far and wide, we chose Sekisui House 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.”

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “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.”

Sir Edward Lister, chair of Homes England, said: “When Homes England launched last year we said we would 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.”

JLL advised on the deal.

In February of this year, Homes England selected Urban Splash as preferred developer to deliver 406 homes at Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, all which will be built using modern methods of construction. The scheme has been tipped to be the largest modular development in the UK.

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