Is there a new build homes scandal?
In mid July Channel 4 Dispatches aired their investigation into what they called the ‘new homes scandal’. The programme focused on Help to Buy and put the house builder Persimmon in the spotlight.
In London our resident rating and feedback is telling a different story. On HomeViews we ask all owners to rate multiple features of their development, we ask if they are a first time buyer and about their experience if they bought directly off the developer. Our data shows that overall the new build experience is positive and that first time buyers have given their developments a higher rating when compared to the average owner rating.
On average first time buyers have given their new build development a star rating of 4.36 out of 5 in comparison to the average owner rating of 4.12 out of 5 (data June 2019). This data covers over 500 residential developments from across London.
“We see lots of positive reviews relating to owner experience of buying new build developments however the consistent themes regarding any issues are the communication around delays and snagging issues post completion.” Says Rory Cramer, co-founder of HomeViews.
Residents, both owners and tenants, are asked to rate the Design, Facilities, Location, Value and Management of their building as well as write a review.
“First time buyers rate their development higher than other property owners and give significantly higher ratings for Value, Facilities and Management. This difference could be down to a differing expectation or a reflection of the current pricing in the sales market and newer home owners being able to purchase properties beyond what they expected a few years ago.”
When a first time buyer writes a review they are also ask if they used Help to Buy. This is allowing HomeViews to build up data specifically for those using the scheme and compare this to the average owner experience. HomeViews will be publishing a report later this year looking at owner ratings and perceptions of their new build experience.
“Whilst no developer gets it right every time, to date we have seen fantastic reviews and ratings from first time buyers and those that have benefited from the Help to Buy scheme. A great example is Deptford Foundry by Anthology, this development has a near perfect rating from their first residents and has received 5 HomeViews awards. With reviews titled ‘Dream flat, dream developer’ they are definitely getting things right for their customer”.
Advice from First Time Buyers:
As well as rating their development we ask reviewers to share ‘one thing they wish they had known before they moved in’. Below are some of the insights and advice shared by first time buyers on HomeViews to help those on the journey to buy their first home.
“I imagine this isn’t specific to Barratt’s, but developers in general – but don’t treat the developer like they’re the one doing you a favour. You are well within your right to be on their case with requests – updates on timelines, anything you’re not happy about when moving in (e.g. any snags etc), follow-up on things that are not delivered etc. Do not be apologetic, and if you’re not getting what you need from the build representative, escalate it before it’s too late and becomes yesterday’s news.” Verified first time buyer, Putney Rise by Barratt Homes
“In hindsight, had we known there was going to be Stamp Duty relief on the 2/3 Bedroom apartments, we would have likely opted for a 2-Bedroom.” Verified first time buyer, Deptford Foundry by Anthology
“I hadn’t anticipated how many properties and people would be here for the size of plot and it would be something that I would look into before buying a new build again. I would also ask about the ongoing responsibility for managing and looking after amenities between the developer and the local council and the timescale for this. Other than rubbish collection the council doesn’t do anything on our site and I don’t know if that means the parks and areas are the responsibility of the developer or the local council and that is why they have fallen into disrepair.” Verified first time buyer, Kings Park by Countryside
“Check the planning applications properly for surrounding units e.g. new shops or gyms opening” Verified first time buyer, Green Dragon House by Inspired Homes
“Wish I knew about lack of parking beforehand.” Verified first time buyer, St Paul’s Square by Countryside
“Although I am unsure how this could affect me in the long run it would have been good to know in advance that the developer was going to sell the freehold of the building to an offshore company soon after it was complete and the residents had all moved in.” Verified first time buyer, Rosina Street by Pocket Living
“This is more of a general tip about moving into an unfurnished home: I wish I knew how much furniture you have to buy to get set up! It’s really hard to feel at home when you have nothing to sit on…and sofas take literal months to arrive! There are a lot of set up costs in buying storage furniture, chairs, tables, stocking the kitchen etc.” Verified first time buyer, Deptford Foundry by Anthology
Read more reviews of new build developments by searching our map page