The Puget Sound Business Journal reported today that an Australian home builder named Henley Properties has bought 54 lots in Kent and plans to begin building and expanding their business on the West Coast. Henley is headquartered in Australia, but is financially backed by Sumitomo Forestry Group Housing out of Japan. The article mentions that they intend to become a major home builder in the Puget Sound area and then expand along the West Coast. Interestingly, they are going to build under their own brand, but they also acquired the Bennett Homes brand, which has been around for quite some time in the Seattle area.
This may sound like odd news in a struggling real estate market, but as prices have declined and distressed parcels have hit the market, there are certainly opportunities for builders to get their hands on affordable land. Sounds like this company is trying to take advantage of their deep pockets to establish a presence as the market emerges from the downturn.
What is most interesting about the story is the style of homes that they plan to build under the Henley brand. If their Australia website is any indication of the style of homes they build, they will be a welcome addition to Seattle and a respite from the sameness that dominates all of our local home builders. I kind of like the looks of these.