Persimmon’s sales contracts are changing. The business is writing in a clause to allow the buyer’s solicitor to withhold up to 1.5% of the purchase price until faults found prior to key release are rectified. On Persimmon’s average selling price this would be around £3,600.
Roger Devlin, Persimmon’s chairman, said: “This is a first among the UK’s large housebuilders and I hope will lead the way in change across the sector. This move, and the urgency with which we will introduce it is a clear and unambiguous signal of cultural and operational change at Persimmon.”
The recent HBF customer satisfaction survey gave Persimmon just 3 stars whilst the other biggest 3 UK builders all received 5 stars. Coupled with the prospect of a new house building ombudsman it appears Persimmon have been spurred into action.
How effective the retention initiative is remains to be seen keeping in mind that it only covers faults identified before the customer moves in and is capped at 1.5% which will be around £2,000 on many starter homes. However, anything that is aimed at improving the reputation of new homes should be welcomed. Time will tell.