JAPAN’S biggest housebuilder is coming to the UK after striking a multi-million-pound investment deal with Homes England and developer Urban Splash.
Sekisui House, based in Osaka, was founded in 1960 and is a pioneer of modern methods of construction, manufacturing housing modules in factories before shipping them to site.
The company has become one of the world’s largest housebuilders, employing over 20,000 people, and has sold well over two million homes. It operates in China, Singapore, Australia, the United States, and through this latest deal it will gain entry to the UK market.
“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,” said Yoshihiro Nakai, president and representative director of Sekisui House Ltd.
“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.”
Tom Bloxham MBE, chairman of Manchester-based Urban Splash, said: “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.”
The £90 million deal, facilitated by real estate and financial adviser JLL, sees Sekisui take a 35% equity stake in Urban Splash’s modular housing business, House.
All told, the deal provides £55 million of total new investment into Urban Splash’s House business. Sekisui itself has invested £22 million of new equity, while Homes England has provided £30 million of equity and debt funding via the Government’s Home Building Fund.
Meanwhile, entrepreneur Noel McKee, founder of We Buy Any Car, has also made a “sizeable” investment in the new partnership and will take an incremental c5% stake.
House is expected to deliver thousands of homes across England using modern methods of construction.
“Sekisui House bring with them a proven track record in harnessing the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building,” said housing minister Kit Malthouse MP.
“Backed by Government investment, [this] 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, added: “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.”