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Modular house-building eats into warehouse market

Logistics businesses looking to the East Midlands big box warehouse market have a new competitor – the modular housebuilding business.

TopHat, the modular housebuilder backed by American investor Goldman Sachs, is seeking an 800,000 sq ft warehouse to turn into a modular homes factory.

TopHat was chosen last year to deliver houses for Boklok. The business is co-owned by Skanska and furniture and home furnishings legend Ikea.

The search is understood to focus on the East Midlands and Yorkshire, where modular housebuilders like Legal & General already have a presence.

Requirements from housebuilders come as more traditional warehouse occupiers face a growing shortage of floorspace.

According to CBRE, the take-up of logistics space in the UK hit a new peak the spring quarter of this year, with 15 million sq ft let.

The East Midlands saw 5 million sq ft traded, one third of the total, thanks to heavy demand from online retailers.

CBRE said that the bulk of supply in the West Midlands is now second-hand, with a very limited amount of speculative development in prospect.



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