It is that time of year again when the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the National House Building Council (NHBC) produces the results of its annual survey (this year, based on the replies from almost 58,000 new home buyers) to inform the nation that: “Homeowner satisfaction with new homes remains high”. They go on in their report to claim: “New homes are built to a higher standard than ever before and our customer satisfaction survey results reflect this” Very bold words indeed but do the actual results support these claims??? I have therefore compared their 2018 survey results against those from their 2014 survey to see how new home buyers responded and I would draw your attention to the answers to the following questions:
- Taking everything into account, overall how satisfied were you with the condition of your new home on the day you moved in: The response from those who answered “very” or “fairly” satisfied was:
2018: 79% 2014: 85% You don’t need to be a maths genius to see the trend is the wrong direction!!
- Have you reported any problems with your home (i.e. snags/defects) since you moved in?
2018: 99% 2014: 92% Yet again the trend is in the wrong direction
- Taking everything into account, overall how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the quality of your new home? The response from those who answered “very” or “fairly” satisfied was:
2017: 85% 2014: 90% A clear downturn in customer satisfaction
- Approximately how many problems have you reported? Of those who reported 16 or more problems:
2018: 25% 2014: 15% This equates to an increase of over 66% – a most worrying trend!!!
- Would you recommend your builder to a friend?
2018: 86% 2014: 90% The downward trend continues……. The downward trend in response to all the above questions clearly indicates that, despite the assertions to the contrary from the HBF & NHBC, standards & quality are dropping. Yet perhaps the clearest indication to support my statement of dropping standards is in respect of the HBF Star Rating system for Housebuilders. Of the 25 companies listed in both the 2014 & 2018 survey, only 1 company has increased their Star Rating (Strata Homes) yet 10 companies, which accounts for 40% of those on the list, have had reductions in their Star Rating!! (These are Bloor, Bovis, Crest Nicholson, Keepmoat, Lovell, Morris Homes, Persimmon, Redrow, Stewart Milne & Taylor Wimpey) It would appear that, rather than the statement that “new homes are built to a higher standard than ever before”, standards are falling and the HBF & NHBC own survey clearly supports that statement. I am not for one second claiming that all new homes are built to a poor standard. Through my business, Snagging Inspections Limited, I inspect hundreds of new build homes each year and a number are built to a very good standard and the builder genuinely wants to provide the customer with a quality new home. However, there are others where standards are, to say the least, poor – just have a look at the gallery of photos on my website to see what some companies consider is acceptable!! https://www.snagginginspections.co.uk/#gallery To any prospective purchasers of a new build home, I would recommend you seriously consider using the services of an independent snagging inspection company to prepare a detailed report on your new home – it will be money well spent. Just look at the results from the HBF Survey detailed above which clearly indicate customer satisfaction and quality standards are falling despite the claims to the contrary.