An independent survey commissioned by the New Homes Review conducted between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018 has revealed that more than nine out of 10 new-build homes in the UK have defects and almost 40% fail to meet their original deadline.
However, the survey also found that while the sector needs to improve, other measures of customer satisfaction are more positive.
According to NHR, 91% of homebuyers said that they had experienced snags or defects – 75% of which were resolved in a timely manner. On the whole, 58% of people were satisfied with the service provided by their builder throughout the process and 63% of the properties were completed on time.
65% said were satisfied with the overall condition of the property and the quality of the build
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.
Hughes said, “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.
Hughes added, “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. 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.”