” … More than half of the buyers of new homes have experienced major problems with their properties, according to research, which comes after Bovis Homes agreed to pay £7m compensation to customers for poorly built houses.
A YouGov survey for the housing charity Shelter found that 51% of homeowners of recent new builds in England said they had experienced major problems including issues with construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities.
The survey, which polled 4,341 UK adults online, was published alongside a Shelter report that concluded that the housebuilding sector is rigged in favour of big developers and land traders rather than families looking for homes.
The current speculative system of housebuilding is failing families by producing expensive, yet poor-quality homes, according to the report, published after the government branded the housing market “broken” in its recent housing white paper.
Eight in ten working families who are renting privately cannot afford to buy a newly built home – even if they use the government’s Help to Buy scheme, Shelter said. The West Midlands ranked as the worst region, with 93% of families unable to purchase an average-priced new home.
In the report, entitled New Civic Housebuilding, the charity calls for a return to building good-quality, affordable homes like the model villages for Cadbury workers at Bournville, the red brick developments of the Peabody and Guinness estates, the Victorian and Georgian terraces in Edinburgh and Bath, and the garden cities of Letchworth and Welwyn.
The YouGov poll showed 41% of homeowners disagreed with the statement “I would prefer to live in a new home rather than an older one”; 29% agreed, and 26% neither agreed nor disagreed. And 45% disagreed with the statement “New homes are built to a higher standard than older homes”; 22% agreed and 23% were neutral.
The findings come amid rising complaints about poor building standards in new homes and the regulation of the sector. Critics claim the National House Building Council (NHBC), which checks new homes for defects and provides 10-year warranties for most new homes in Britain, is too close to the housebuilders and is failing in its duty to protect consumers.
Last week Bovis Homes’ interim boss, Earl Sibley, apologised to customers as the company set aside £7m to pay compensation and to fix shoddily built new homes, with many customers reporting hundreds of “snags” after moving in.
Shelter called for a shake-up of the housebuilding sector, with a bigger role for development corporations, which have specific powers (such as the Olympic Delivery Authority) – they can give planning permission and acquire land, if necessary compulsorily, at reasonable prices. …”