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Australian home builder entering U.S. market

Backed by Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Forestry Group, one of Australia’s largest home builders, Henley, has announced its intention to enter the U.S. market. Henley/Sumitomo began purchasing land in the Seattle area in advance of construction this summer.

Backed by more than $100 million in investment, the company owns property in King, Pierce and Sammamish Counties and continues to aggressively acquire land throughout the Puget Sound region. Henley/Sumitomo plans initial construction of 500 homes in 2011/2012 within the region. Seattle's low unemployment rate, large population of highly paid workers and presence of major companies made it an attractive target for the international builder, according to the announcement.

Henley/Sumitomo has home-building operations in Asia. Construction in Washington State marks its first activity in the U.S. market. The group has taken over the existing Sumitomo operations of Bennett Homes, an established Seattle home-building company.

"Seattle is the ideal place for a U.S. market entry. The region is projected to grow by half a million people over the next 10 years, and our global experience will give us an edge over local home builders competing to build new homes," said Henley managing director Peter Hayes. "Washington State weathered the housing collapse better than other major U.S. cities, and Henley is making a bet the region is poised for recovery. Our business model is based on innovative design and upgraded inclusions with efficiencies gained from the Japanese and Australian operations, enabling highly competitive pricing to the home buyer."

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