One of East Anglia's largest property builders is sold to investment firm

James Hopkins

James Hopkins founded Hopkins Homes in 1993 - Credit: Archant

Hopkins Homes, which is the largest privately-owned property builder in East Anglia, has been sold to a private equity investment firm for an undisclosed sum. 

Terra Firma completed its acquisition of the Suffolk-based property firm on Thursday. 

The investment firm said that its acquisition of Hopkins Homes is in line with its strategy of investing in high-quality, asset backed businesses with strong growth potential. 

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Hopkins Homes built houses across Norfolk and Suffolk - Credit: Archant

Hopkins Homes will continue to be led by its group managing director Lee Barnard.

Commenting on the acquisition, James Hopkins, founder and executive chairman of Hopkins Homes, said: “Since founding the business, our mission has always been to deliver high-quality housing that sits at the heart of communities, whilst preserving the character of East Anglia for generations to come. I have every confidence that under Terra Firma's stewardship and the continued leadership of Lee Barnard, Hopkins Homes will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Lee Barnard, group managing director of Hopkins Homes, added: "I am delighted to be partnering with Terra Firma, under whose ownership we are excellently positioned for the future. On behalf of the entire company, I would like to thank James for the enormous contribution he has made to the business' success and, to wish him the very best for the future.”

Vivek Ahuja, chief executive officer of Terra Firma, said: “We are incredibly pleased to welcome Hopkins Homes into the Terra Firma family. As a regional housebuilder, it is recognised for its strong business and brand, and I greatly look forward to working with Lee and the team to drive the next phase of Hopkins Homes' success, building on the impressive legacy that James leaves behind.”

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James Hopkins, who founded the property firm, will continue to own and lead Hopkins & Moore, a separate building company which will be renamed Denbury Homes. This firm is not part of the sale and will operate separately from Hopkins Homes. 

The company has built houses across the region including in Hunstanton, Holt, Swanton Morley, Drayton, Sprowston, Blofield, Wymondham, Gillingham and Thetford in Norfolk. 

In Suffolk the property firm has built homes in Beccles, Halesworth, Darsham, Aldringham, Badwell Ash, Thurston, Stowmarket, Needham Market and Lavenham. 

From fish-seller to owner of largest housebuilding firm in East Anglia  

James Hopkins, who admitted that he did not succeed in school, started his career selling fish to pubs and restaurants in London for three years. At the age of 23, he sold up and bought a yacht to sail the Mediterranean.  

Two years later he returned home and used a £4,000 inheritance from his grandfather and a small bank loan to buy a derelict cottage in Halesworth in partnership with a friend. 

The paid completed the work on the cottage themselves and made a small profit, which they used towards buying a building plot.  

Mr Hopkins bought out his partner in the early 1990s and went into business with Trevor Harris, which led to the establishment of Hopkins Homes. 

Over the years Hopkins Homes has grown to become the largest housebuilder in East Anglia.  

Although no longer owner of Hopkins Homes, Mr Hopkins will continue to own Hopkins & Moore and plans to focus on his significant charitable works.