A brand name better known for electronics than construction has finished its first New Zealand home.
Panasonic Homes says it has built a prefabricated three-bedroom prototype in the Waikato's Te Kauwhata, the first of many it will produce with one of New Zealand's largest house-builders, Mike Greer Commercial.
Anna Filippova, Panasonic Homes' New Zealand representative, said the business could build a house in around three months whereas most New Zealand homes took around seven months.
The company was drawn here in 2018 when the Government established KiwiBuild and invited overseas prefabricated housing manufacturers in, she said. When KiwiBuild became part of Kāinga Ora, Panasonic joined Mike Greer to develop its first home.
"We are committed to helping to grow New Zealand's housing stock for families who are in need of affordable homes," Filippova said.
The home is on Rimu St in the Te Kauwhata Lakeside development, on land owned by Mike Greer but no price is available: "The price is yet to be properly calculated. The selling price will be determined in consideration of the performance quality with respect to the market price," a spokesman said.
External walls, roof panels and truss materials are from Panasonic's factory in Japan. The cladding is local.
The business plans to build around 10 new terrace-style homes in Auckland's Mt Roskill.
Filippova said the prefabrication technology and construction materials would help boost the sector and contribute to the already busy and thriving construction industry, she said.
Last month, StatsNZ said almost 38,000 new homes were consented in the year to October 2020, the highest number since 1974, boosted by more townhouses, flats, and units.
The number of new homes consented in the year to October 2020 was 37,981, up 2.8 per cent from 2019.
"Annual new homes consented reached 37,000 late in 2019 and are now close to 38,000 for the first time in decades," construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said.
The all-time high for annual home consents was 40,025 in the February 1974 year.
Tony Houston announced last year he was selling the first of three Chinese-made modular homes at Hobsonville Point. Neilston Group showed off the technique to place modules for the first three terrace homes, lifted into place in a day.
Open homes were arranged by appointment at 23 Nuggett Ave. The first units have been finished on that street.
"The houses are built in Guangzhou. You can't do it here because it's too expensive. We've set the business up for affordable homes, particularly Kiwibuild. We've been working with Kāinga Ora and HLC for the last three years," Houston said in August.
Fletcher Building has also established a Wiri prefab house-building factory, opening that in October 2019 and aiming to cut a 22-week lead to six weeks.
Panasonic Homes Co. was founded in 1963 by Panasonic Corp founder Konosuke Matsushita.
For more than 50 years, it expanded its housing business in Japan. It expanded into Taiwan in 2010, Malaysia 2012, and Indonesia in 2017.
Last year, it became a group company of Prime Life Technologies Corporation, founded by Panasonic Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation.