OSAKA (Nikkei)–Sekisui Chemical Co. (4204), PanaHome Corp. (1924) and other homebuilders are bolstering their supplies to meet a sharp rise in housing starts in Tohoku as reconstruction remand shifts into high gear in the earthquake-hit region.
Sekisui Chemical will build at least 100 new apartments in Tohoku’s six prefectures this fiscal year, double the tally for fiscal 2011. It will handle construction on behalf of landowners, building steel-frame apartments.
Sumitomo Forestry Co. (1911) has assigned specialists to its Sendai branch to start building wooden apartments in the city, responding to growing demand for low-cost rentals from prospective tenants with little to spend whose homes were destroyed in the disaster. The company foresees orders for several units by year-end.
Misawa Homes Co. (1722) will speed construction of rental houses for seniors through subsidiary Tohoku Misawa Homes Co. By offering care and meal services, it will seek to meet the needs of the elderly, who are less likely to purchase new homes than young families. It is targeting fiscal 2013 orders at 5 billion yen, up 70% on fiscal 2011, in the six Tohoku prefectures. Around 70% of these are expected to come from the three hardest-hit prefectures: Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi.
Mitsui Home Co. (1868) will spend about 100 million yen to set up a sales office this July in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, as well as model homes in October. While it has not conducted extensive sales activities in Tohoku until now, the company now intends to boost its supply of energy-efficient housing there.
Wide-scale urban development is getting under way in some parts of the disaster zone. Sekisui House Ltd. (1928) will develop its first-ever smart town, comprising greenhouses featuring solar cells and storage batteries, in the Miyagi town of Tomiya. It aims to build 431 dwellings over four years or so.
PanaHome will join forces with the Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) group and Shimizu Corp. (1803) to build a smart town in the Sendai ward of Wakabayashi. The three firms aim to supply homes by fiscal 2015, with the total expected to reach around 1,600. Daiwa House Industry Co. (1925) will also participate in the smart-city project that Toshiba Corp. (6502) and Tohoku Electric Power Co. (9506) are planning in Ishinomaki.
(The Nikkei, May 9 morning edition)