Mitsubishi Estate to sell homes made from only Japan-grown wood

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Part of a Mitsubishi Estate house made of Japan-grown timber at a factory in Yusui, Kagoshima Prefecture

Beginning in April, Mitsubishi Estate Co. will sell single-story houses made exclusively from Japan-grown timber.

To save time and money, Mitsubishi Estate is involved in the entire process, from the procurement of materials to the sale of the homes. It has set a price of ¥10 million for a 100-square-meter residence, exceptionally low for a major housing manufacturer.

From the production of materials through the house’s completion, a wooden house results in half the carbon dioxide emissions of those made with steel frames and reinforced concrete. By using Japan-grown timber, Mitsubishi Estate will promote domestic forestry and decarbonization.

The wood is cut in forests in the Kyushu region and processed at a special factory in Kagoshima Prefecture. Each room is built and has its interior finished at the factory, before being transported by truck to a housing site where the residence is put together with a crane.

Mitsubishi Estate established a subsidiary that handles all the production, processing, manufacturing, assembling and sales, thereby saving on outsourcing costs.

Building a wooden house usually takes about three to six months, but the Mitsubishi Estate houses to go on sale from April can be completed in as little as one month because each room is already finished at the factory.

The company uses cross laminated timber (CLT) — which is seen as a next-generation building material — that consists of large wooden panels formed by laminating layers of sawn lumber perpendicular to one another. The strength of CLT is comparable to that of concrete, and it boasts strong quake and heat resistance.

Wide use of domestic wood would lessen the impact of soaring timber prices, dubbed the “wood shock,” caused by a decrease in the supply of imported timber.

Mitsubishi Estate plans to start sales in Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, and aims to sell 300 houses a year.

“We can cut the work period to one-fourth and deal with the labor shortages in the construction industry,” President Junichi Yoshida told The Yomiuri Shimbun. “Japan’s forests account for 70% of its land mass. We want to make active use of domestic timber.”