Just two-thirds of new-home buyers believe they get value for money from their purchase, according to the latest annual survey by the New Homes Review (NHR).
Although customers reported small improvements across a range of measures, including the condition of the home when they moved in and the quality of build and the standard of finish, the number of customers claiming their new home represented value-for-money fell from 69% in 2018 to 67% in 2019.
There were also small improvements on customer services measures, though after-sales service continues to lag behind pre-sale service. Only 55% of customers are satisfied with the service from their builder or developer after they had moved in, compared to 63% during the sales process (still an improving story on 2018’s 51% and 58% respectively).
Now in its third year, the independent survey was conducted from November 2018 to October 2019 and also revealed that:
- 89% of homebuyers experienced snags or defects (a small drop on 2018’s 91%)
- Just 64% of homes were completed on time, though this is an improvement on previous years (59% in 2017 and 63% in 2018)
- 66% were satisfied with the condition of the home when they moved in and the overall quality of build
- Pre-sales service satisfaction improved from 58% in 2018 to 66% in 2019, and aftersales from 51% to 55%
- Overall satisfaction was 69.5%, just a 0.5% improvement on 2018
- 86% of customers believe their structural warranty is important and 89% reported some level of understanding of what is covered
Kate Hughes at the NHR said: “It is pleasing to note that there are small improvements across a range of measures, though it remains frustrating that on-time completions and customer satisfaction levels are still some way short of where they ideally should be.
“Another telling statistic is the number of customers who believe their structural warranty is important, and the high numbers of people who claim to be knowledgeable about what is covered. Buyers are well informed of what they should expect from a new-build home.
“It is interesting to see is that while buyers are reporting generally better service and standards, a third of customers remain unconvinced that they are getting value for money. This also reflects the high expectations buyers of new homes have, and shows that builders and developers still have some way to go to meeting those expectations.”
Be realistic about timelines
The NHR launched in 2016 to provide independent insight into the quality of new homes built for sale in the UK by analysing the levels of customer satisfaction amongst purchasers of new homes. NHR provides this information to consumers and to builders and developers, giving the latter valuable insight to help them improve service and delivery. This insight takes the form of a rating that is shared with builders and developers as a measure of overall customer satisfaction. The rating for 2019 was 68%.
Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of Homeowners Alliance, said: “The fact that only two-thirds of new homes are completed on time is disappointing and brings into question the view that buying new build is hassle free. Developers need to stop over-promising and be more realistic about their timelines, and communicate this to customers. Homebuyers should not be out of pocket when faced with unnecessary delays.
“Otherwise, this survey is clearly a step in the right direction. We should remember that it isn't just about reporting, however, but about seeing real improvement in the service their customers receive. It is only months later - when the customer has unpacked and the snags have been dealt with - that they can reflect on the full experience of buying, moving and owning a newly built home.”
You can find more details on the NHR rating system here.
You can also see 2018’s Annual Review here.