Financial services multinational Legal & General (L&G) announced last month that it plans to move into the flat pack houses market. The company, known for its insurance and investment services, plans to build thousands of prefabricated homes every year in the UK.
The company is one of several large brands to make a move into the flat pack home market in response to the growing shortage of houses across the UK. In 2012, Ikea announced the Aktiv — its $86,000 flat pack house built in partnership with Oregon architectural firm Ideabox.
L&G’s homes will be built through a company called L&G Homes at a factory in North Yorkshire, according to the Financial Times. The insurance giant also owns a 46.5% share of home builder CALA Homes, which purchased competitor Banner Homes in 2014 in an estimated £200m deal.
The homes will be constructed in North Yorkshire and transported to sites across the country as part of the company’s operations. The flat pack construction and transportation process leads to significant savings compared to traditional construction, reducing costs for home buyers.
Flat pack houses are viewed by many in the construction and housing industries as a practical way to increase the number of new homes built throughout the UK, after Minister of State for Housing Brandon Lewis announced an ambitious target of one million new homes by 2020.
They’ve also attracted the attention of open source enthusiasts and technology evangelists. An open source building system called WikiHouse, launched in 2011 in South Korea, offers digital plans for flat pack houses to be shared online using the Creative Commons license.
Real estate industry analysts believe that L&G’s entry into the flat pack homes market could be a trigger for other companies to make similar decisions, particularly as home builders ramp up their efforts to build throughout the UK.