New Ideal Homesteads, or Ideal Homes, as it was commonly known, was a house building company established in London in 1929 by a former assistant surveyor with Erith Council called Leo Mayer.
In 1930 the company opened its first estate in Dartford. By 1932 the firm was offering a 3 bedroom semi-detached house for just £395, and an agreement with the Halifax Building Society enabled the houses to be sold for a deposit of only 5% (£20).
The growth of the company was rapid. In 1934 there were 16 Ideal Homes estates in operation around the London suburbs, and around 5,700 houses were sold that year. By the mid-1930s Ideal Homes was the largest private housebuilder in the UK, with house sales estimated at 5,000 – 7,000 a year.
Following the Second World War, building controls severely restricted the opportunities for private house building, and Ideal Homes changed its focus to the purchase and sale of tenanted properties.
In 1953 the company moved back into private estate development. By the start of the 1960s house sales were at 2,000 – 3,000 a year, however Leo Meyer died in 1961 and company sales began to decline.
In 1967 the business was acquired by Trafalgar House. House sales recovered in the early 1980s, however Trafalgar House put Ideal Homes up for sale and in 1996 the company was purchased by Persimmon for £177 million.