Economy Model Homes in Japan — Yamada SXL Home

SXL is another housemaker you might have seen advertisements for while perusing your local Yamada denki. Yamada denki has grown significantly in recent years, becoming the largest electronic outlet chain in the country.

Yamada denki acquired SXL (read S by L) in 2011 and rebranded it Yamada SXL Home in 2013.

Today I’ll be introducing one of their internet-based economy class products called sumai21. This is the product you might have seen being advertised quoting a cost-per-tsubo (3.3 square meters) of 280,000 yen.


The bulk of the back and forths/communication related to the purchase is done online or by phone, and in general they don’t have representatives go out to meet you but rather have you come to them. They also don’t have model houses to showcase this product, further cutting down costs.

For busy people or those who aren’t super pressed as to an exact completion date, the idea of the pace of progression being in your control might be a good thing. Normally you’ll have your agent coming to you regularly whether by phone or in person, for all manner of communication related to the transaction.

But in this case, they work at your pace and the speed at which things move along is in large part up to you. There are 321 different interior plans from which you can choose, giving you a fairly decent chance of finding something that you like and fits your needs.

Judging strictly from cost-per-tsubo, this is by far the cheapest custom home I’ve ever seen. This is even cheaper than most houses you would buy that are sold after being built (non-custom).

But before you get too excited, let’s make sure we understand the other factors that will influence the final cost:

– Not tax inclusive. That’s an additional 8 percent, making a tax-inclusive cost-per-tsubo of 302,400 yen.

– Note that the cost-per-tsubo is a ballpark number and because it’s based on the floor area of the house, it won’t include spaces or features such as atriums, balconies, and attics. Obviously, these features aren’t free and will be included in what’s called the cost of construction (kouji-kakaku), or the area of construction (kouji-menseki).

– And last, there will always be parameters only within which the quoted cost-per-tsubo will apply. Generally speaking, the cheaper the cost the tighter the parameters. It’s safe to say that very few people will actually stay within these parameters.

SXL Model Home

SXL Sumai21 Pros

– It’s damn cheap! By far the best thing going for them. Even after adding all the relevant sundry expenses, taxes etc, this is extremely reasonable when compared to other custom homes in the same class.

SXL Sumai21 Cons

– Being that most of the communication is done online or phone, it’s a bit more tricky to ensure your ideas and desires are being accurately translated into action. As mentioned above, there is also more legwork that you’ll have to do.

– Inferior insulation due to part of the space in the wall cavities being taken up by spacers that allow continuous ventilation. Inside-wall ventilation is important to prevent moisture build-up, but so is insulation. Ideally, you wouldn’t sacrifice the integrity of one for the other. This problem is typical in exterior walls that don’t have sufficient thickness to accommodate both comfortably.

In Summary:

For folks on a budget, this might be for you. And for those who worry about the integrity, structural or otherwise, Japan has a very robust building code, and there are lines that no legitimate brand housemaker will cross. If you are planning on purchasing a house, would like to do so as cheaply as possible, and have found one of the 321 plans to your liking, I see no reason why you shouldn’t choose this product.

Example Floorplans:

Example Floorplan 1

Example Floorplan 2

For those who are interested, you can have the information/floor plans sent to you by filling out the application form here: Sumai21 catalog request

What other people are saying about this product (in Japanese):

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