9 out of 10 new-build homes have defects, according to New Home Review’s 2018 annual report

More than 9 out of 10 new-build homes in the UK have defects and almost 40% of new build homes fail to meet their original deadline, a survey by the New Homes Review (NHR) has revealed.


More than 9 out of 10 new-build homes in the UK have snags and defects and almost 40% of new build homes fail to meet their original deadline, a survey by the New Homes Review (NHR) has revealed. On a more positive note, 65% of new-build homebuyers are satisfied with the condition of the property.

While the independent survey, conducted between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018, shows that the sector needs to improve, other measures of customer satisfaction are more positive.

The NHR survey’s key findings showed that:

Download the NHR 2018 survey here.

Kate Hughes at New Homes Review said: “House building is such an important part of our society.  With an increasing population and house building on course for its lowest levels since the second world war, the country needs more new homes to avert a housing crisis.  But not all developers deliver what the homebuyer expects and more needs to be done to improve the sector.

“The NHR survey is now in its second year and we hope that it will continue to help new home buyers with their buying decisions and minimise the stress involved, making it a much more enjoyable process.”

The first NHR report covered 2017 and revealed that defects and snags were the biggest issue for consumers when buying a new-build home, rather than any delays during the build.

For 2018, the survey shows that the majority of new-build purchasers were satisfied with their home with most feeling that the quality of the build and the finish was high. 

Kate commented: “Builders and developers play a huge role in delivering people’s dreams, designing houses that people want to live in.  Many of them are also trying to improve the service that they provide to homebuyers. The NHR report shows that there are improvements since 2017, but there is still more to be done, in particular around snags and defects which is still very high at 91%. While the majority are resolved in a timely manner, it will be an unbelievably frustrating time for the 25% that are not.”

There were mixed reviews when new-build homeowners were asked about the service provided after they moved in.  It was split down the middle with 49% unsatisfied, but 33% said they were completely satisfied.  This shows that builders and developers need to continue to work on the after sales service, which is often handled by the developer or builder’s head office rather than the on-site team.

“What is clear from the NHR survey is that home buyers have very high expectations and that better communication on any delays or issues would be better for everyone involved in the process,” Kate added “The homebuyer would be better informed and feel more in control and it would be easier for the builder or developer to be open about the issues, many of which can be out of their control.

“Knowing who to contact and who is responsible for putting things right is important, especially given the number of snags and defects identified. 87% of new build homeowners said the warranty or insurance provided was important, which shows their reliance on this and the protection it provides.”

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, said: “It is a great shame that the vast majority of buyers have experienced defects in their new home and delays in completion.  Everyone expects some snagging issues as properties settle and dry out but for almost all buyers to identify problems, it is clear action needs to be taken.

“Our campaign aims to encourage better new builds and we are calling for new-build homebuyers to be able to retain 2.5% of the cost of the house, which would only be paid after six months. We would also like to see homebuyers compensated if their home is not ready on time.  This would create a powerful incentive for builders and developers to build high quality homes right, first time.”

The NHR independent rating for the new build industry for 2018 is Gold, the same level as for 2017. This means that the average customer satisfaction score for the survey was between 61% and 70%.