Overwhelming majority of buyers happy with their new build home

26 Mar, 2019

Overwhelming majority of buyers happy with their new build home

Industry delivers successive improvements in annual quality and customer service survey

An overwhelming and increasing majority of new home owners are happy with their housebuilder and their new home, results from the annual industry customer satisfaction survey published today show. The results show that the industry has delivered a second successive year of improvements across all question areas, further underlining house builders’ commitment to quality and customer service.

Today’s results mean that 2018 saw more satisfied new home owners than in any previous year since the survey began in 2006, following a recommendation by Kate Barker as part of the then Government’s Barker Review of Housing Supply in 2004.

Last year the survey was sent to almost 100k new build buyers and shows that;

  • 87% of new buyers would ‘recommend their builder to a friend’; the key question on which the HBF star ratings are based. This is up from 86% last year, and 84% in 2016
  • Over 90% of those who bought a new build home would buy new again
  • 86% were satisfied with the quality of their new home, up 1% (5% neither satisfied or unsatisfied)
  • Two thirds of people said that the number of ‘snags’ was either below or in line with their expectations.

As output increased rapidly between 2014 and 2017 the survey reported falls in satisfaction levels across all question areas, something the industry was heavily criticised for. As a result, there has been an intense focus both within individual companies and at an industry level on build quality and customer service. This has been allied with a massive recruitment and training drive that has seen tens of thousands of new employees boosting industry capacity.

Last year this drive to enhance the customer experience saw a reversal of the negative trend, including an improvement of two percentage points in the key ‘recommend’ score. This year’s scores demonstrate the continued progress being made, that are being delivered alongside further increases in supply.

To achieve such improvements, individual companies have reviewed their own internal quality assurance processes and ‘customer journeys’. Whilst at industry level there have been a number of high-level working groups set up to focus on particular aspects, including recommendations made by parliamentary groups who have looked at the new build sector.

The industry is committed to delivering further improvements moving forward and is proactively engaged with a broad range of stakeholders looking at how a new homes ombudsman can be introduced, with the objective of raising standards, further strengthening consumer redress and increasing the amount of information available up front for homebuyers.

Speaking today at HBF’s annual policy conference executive chairman Stewart Baseley said:

“The survey proves conclusively that the people who buy and live in new build homes are overwhelmingly happy with their purchase. There has been a huge focus on quality and service across the industry and this is reflected by successive annual improvements across all question areas.

“The intense focus on quality and service, allied to a huge recruitment and training campaign has enabled builders to further raise standards whilst increasing output.

“New build buyers already have far more protection than second hand buyers with the security of a consumer code and 10-year warranty. The vast majority of customers are already happy with the service and quality of their home, but the industry is determined to deliver even higher levels in the years to come. The industry is committed to further increases in protection and redress and is working with a range of stakeholders on how an ombudsman can be introduced.”

The survey is one of the largest of its type undertaken in the UK. This year 98,876 surveys were sent out, more than double the number sent five years ago reflecting the significant increase in the number of homes being built. 60% of forms were returned, and the results cover the 12-month period from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

In response to a recommendation made in the APPG ‘more homes fewer complaints’ HBF commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake a full independent review of the Customer Satisfaction Survey and its processes. The report concludes that the survey is a robust measure of customer satisfaction in the new homes industry. The industry will now be reviewing the recommendations made.  

Individual company star rating scores will be published on the HBF web site at 1630.

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner – 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307760 or steve.turner@hbf.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the principal representative body for private sector home builders and voice of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: hbf.co.uk

 

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