Sekisui House to work with New Islington developer and build 2,000 modular homes a year

Tom Bloxham

Urban Splash expects to build 10 times as many modular homes following Sekisui House, the Japanese housebuilder, taking a 35% stake in the Manchester-based developer.

Sekisui House has invested £22m in Urban Splash House Holdings, a new operation established alongside Urban Splash, with a view to ramping up capacity at the UK group’s modular homes factory in Alfreton in the East Midlands from 200 homes a year to 2,000.

The Japanese firm, which has built more than 2.4 million homes across the Far East, Australia and the US, has established a team of four executives in London who will work with Urban Splash on increasing capacity with immediate effect.

Homes England, the government’s housing delivery agency, has taken a 5% stake in the new business worth just over £3m, and provided an initial debt facility of £27m, while We Buy Any Car founder Noel McKee has also invested in the operation, worth around 5%.

Yoshihiro Nakai, Sekisui House’s president, said building high-quality homes with short build times using modern methods of construction was one of his company’s 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.”

Urban Splash founder Tom Bloxham (pictured) said bringing in new partners would mean the firm will be able to ramp up the number of modular homes it produces.

He added: “We chose Sekisui House from Japan because of the company’s unrivalled global experience in modular construction.”

One of Urban Splash’ three modular home varieties is a special edition two/three-storey town house called the “Fab House”, designed by George Clarke, who regularly appears on Channel 4 design programmes.

Clarke and Urban Splash, which has worked on a string of high-profile schemes over the years including New Islington in Manchester, the former Fort Dunlop tyre factory in Birmingham and the Park Hill estate in Sheffield, own 55% of the business, following the latest investment moves.

The UK’s modular housing sector is attracting growing interest from overseas investors. Last month US investment bank Goldman Sachs ploughed £75m into Top Hat, which builds homes at its factory in south Derbyshire.