G2 subsidiary will sell one and two-bedroom homes in northern England and the Midlands

George Wimpey is to launch a subsidiary to develop homes priced from £60,000 for first-time buyers.

The G2 business model is based on building one bedroom and two-bedroom homes, which will be 340ft2 and just under 500ft2 respectively, in urban areas. Graeme Dodds, Wimpey’s business development director, said: “We will probably need to buy portfolios of sites. Typical sites would be petrol stations or small, redundant warehouses in areas of town that are on the up.”

Initially, G2 will target sites in the Midlands and northern England but its reach will be extended if the concept is a success. Dodds said the housebuilder would ultimately like to have an output of 2,000 G2 units a year and a turnover of £160m within five years.

Dodds said: “We have put together a young team to empathise with buyers.” Its members will be based in Leeds, and will be run by Richard Cook, G2’s managing director.

Typical sites would be petrol stations or small, redundant warehouses in areas of town on the up

Graeme Dodds, George Wimpey

Wimpey is also participating in English Partnerships’ Design for Manufacture initiative, and aims to open a show home at its first site, in Milton Keynes, this month.

The G2 concept has been tested in trials in the Midlands and Grantham, Lincolnshire. The units will be built using closed-panel, timbered-frame technology but the eventual aim is to use volumetric, modular construction. Dodds said: “The philosophy is that this is fast-turnover. We are not thinking of having an army of subbies on site. We may have only visiting site management.”

In Grantham G2 sold 60 one and two-bedroom apartments in four hours.

Other housebuilders targeting first-time buyers include Redrow Homes, with its Debut range, Barratt Homes with iPad and David Wilson Homes with I-Life.