By Sarah Baird
Look out, American homebuilders: A new Japanese company is launching in the U.S. in an attempt to give the housing industry a fresh dose of (pre-fab) innovation.
Takeshi Homma, the founder of the housing startup Homma, has his eye set on attracting millennial buyers by creating a company that constructs “middle- to high-end houses that are built more efficiently” while featuring “the know-how and quality products of Japanese housing firms.”
“Efficiency and industrialization have been neglected in the U.S. homebuilding industry, I want to change that,” Homma told The Japan Times in a recent interview. “American homebuilders are mainly focused on getting cheap land, building houses there and then selling them as high as possible. They are not really particular about pursuing design and comfort.”
The start-up leader, who has lived in the US for the past 10 years, points to the practice of site-building as costly, wasteful and lacking in innovative thinking. His line of manufactured homes, on the other hand, will focus on incorporating off-site construction and Japanese-made products with high usability and quality design.
“The goal of existing homebuilders is to build and sell houses. Their business ends there. But when we sell houses, we want to make it a start of our relationship with customers,” Homma explained.
The first of Homma’s prototype communities, called Homma One, will launch in Pennsylvania in March 2019. The company has already partnered with several big-name domestic companies for in-home technology collaborations, including Panasonic.
In what perhaps is the most interesting component the new manufactured housing model, Homma says that, ultimately, Homma will aim to not only sell prefab homes themselves, but the concept of community as a whole, with neighbors sharing services—like gardening or security—through a subscription-based model.