Customers say there’s still work to be done……

The independent New Homes Review has been released and shows only minor improvements in customer satisfaction in both pre-sale and post-completion. Even with the uplift, only 55% of customers are claiming to be happy with their builder’s service levels after they have moved into their new home.

89% of customers are experiencing snags with their new home and only two-thirds are satisfied with the finish and build quality.

The homeowners alliance focused on the finding that only 64% of new homes are completed on time. Chief Executive, Paula Higgins stated “Developers need to stop over-promising and be more realistic about their timelines, and communicate this to customers.”

The review also cites a small drop from 69% to 67% of customers believing that their new home represented value for money. 

For all the recent soundbites from housebuilders of focus on quality, it appears the customers still think there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Record New Homes Registrations in 2019

Last year saw the highest number of new homes registrations since 2007 with a total of 161,022. Private registrations were 3% down whilst social housing jumped by 13%. Whilst a very small component of the overall market, build to rent leapt by 57%.

New homes completions were marginally up during the year with Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Eastern being the big regional gainers. Interestingly, London saw a 7 decrease in completions whilst having a 37% increase in registrations.

And for those with short memories a little reminder of how tough times were a decade ago: in 2009 just 88,849 new homes were registered, around 55% of last year’s number. Since then the industry has registered over 1.4 million new homes.

A new version of affordability

The government is currently in a consultation period regarding First Homes. This is an initiative to significantly improve the affordability of housing for local first-time buyers, forces veterans and key workers such as nurses and teachers.

The key principle is designated new homes will be sold at a minimum of a 30% discount to market value. The exact level of discount will be set by the local authority and once fixed will remain in perpetuity on that property. 

So the owner buys at a 30% discount but must sell at a 30% discount after an independent valuation to another buyer who meets the eligibility criteria (ie a local first-time buyer) when they want to move up the housing ladder.

The government is considering whether to use section 106 as the vehicle for delivery of First Homes or to set a separate percentage of units on a development as the house builders obligation. As with current affordable homes the CIL is likely to be waived.

Maybe you have had your say already but if not click here to contribute to the consultation and take a deep dive into the details.