The latest Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) results, published on 26th March 2019, found that homeowner satisfaction with new build homes is continuing to increase. This is the second successive increase in customer satisfaction with new homes following a period of decline in the average industry rating between 2014 and 2018.
The Survey was launched over a decade ago to provide a barometer for both industry and individual builders to gauge performance and drive improvements. It is a self-completion census of new home purchasers and is one of the most comprehensive, large-sale surveys of its type carried out in the country with almost 100,000 forms sent and 61,000 questionnaire forms completed and returned last year.
- 87% of new home owners surveyed said they would’ recommend their builder to a friend’, up 1% on last year
- Over 90% of respondents said they would buy a new build home again
We are now seeing evidence of the major investment by house builders in build quality and customer care. As a result, we welcomed the publication of last year’s scores that saw a reversal of the trend across all question areas including a 2% improvement in the key ‘recommend’ questions referenced above.
This year’s further improvement is a clear demonstration that the intense focus within the industry on build quality and customer service is continuing to deliver. Crucially, the improvements in satisfaction levels have been achieved as output has continued to increase. The past five years have seen an unprecedented 78% increase in housing supply, and the industry recognises that high levels of build quality and service must be maintained as volumes rise and are investing accordingly.
However, in instances where things do go wrong, the industry fully accepts that there is a responsibility on the builder to put things right to the satisfaction of the customer, and that there needs to be strong protections in place to ensure they abide by their responsibilities.
As such, since the publication of the APPG on Excellence in the Built Environment’s ‘More homes fewer complaints’ report in the Summer of 2016, HBF has been considering each of the 10 recommendations made and developing workstreams to address them. This has included developing guidance on the information builders provide to customers; working with a legal firm to create a standard industry sales contract; and having Ipsos Mori undertake a thorough review of the National New Homes Survey. Probably the most significant work, however, has been to consider how a New homes Ombudsman could be introduced that both drives up build quality and delivers improved consumer redress. The industry has been working closely with Government officials, warranty providers, lenders, existing code bodies and other stakeholders on three main workstreams which we anticipate will form the basis of a new industry code and is totally committed to helping facilitate the introduction of a New Homes Ombudsman.
We are confident that the work we are doing can help further improve the quality of homes and the level of customer service new build home buyers receive, whilst strengthening consumer redress in those regrettable instances when things do go wrong. HBF would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you our work in this area in more detail.