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Kent Named a Hotspot for UK Prefab Homes

With an output of 700 homes a year from factory-built modules, Kent has been named one of Britain’s prefab homes hotspots. 

Research by law firm Pinsent Masons has confirmed that the growing industry, which the UK government is promoting as a way to produce needed housing more quickly, is delivering 15,000 homes a year across the country. There is no central register of prefab homes, but the Kent Developer’s Group confirmed that 700 units had been locally built in the last year. 

Paul Wookey, of Kent investment agency Locate, said that prefab housing is becoming more visible across the county, and is helping both local authorities and developers accommodate the increasing demand for new housing more quickly. 

Medway is an especially active hotspot for prefab construction, as there are currently three developments being built using this method. 

Dave Harris, head of planning for Medway Council, explained that this style of home construction is 40% faster than traditional building methods, and a newly arrived pod can be ready to accommodate its new owners within four weeks.

It’s a timeline that is especially beneficial to councils that are being pressured by the government to hit their housebuilding targets.  

 

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Berkeley Homes recently announced that it would be establishing a huge factory at Gravesham to produce these modular homes. The firm has been using prefab homes at its Kidbrooke development in southeast London, and intends to manufacture steel-framed modules that can be zipped together to create a home once it arrives onsite. 

Certain other housebuilders, such as Crest Nicholson and Persimmon, also use prefab elements in their homes, and Legal & General has invested substantially in a factory near Leeds.

Using offsite construction to build homes is still limited in practice because the number of factories that can produce them is small, mostly due to the amount of upfront investment required. 

Mr Wookey added that with property prices being lower in Kent compared to London, a growing number of first-time buyers and young professionals are choosing to buy homes in the county, in the process adding to a growing workforce that could inspire business to set up shop or relocate in the area. 

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