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Heating 'serious issue' in new homes

A survey commissioned by the Office for Fair Trading has found faulty central heating and hot water systems are the most serious problems for people moving into new homes.

The results of the New Build Consumer Survey of 1,000 house buyers have been issued in a draft report issued by the OFT ahead of further discussions with the construction industry.

The survey was launched as part of the OFT investigation into customer satisfaction levels.

Although many expressed satisfaction with their new home, researchers discovered that 70 per cent found problems with their property and a fifth of these felt central heating and hot water was the “most serious” issue they had with their new home.

This issue was the third most common with 25 per cent identifying a problem - behind decoration (29 per cent) and glazing (27 per cent) - although home buyers felt it was the most serious out of all the problems they raised.

The survey found that in 72 per cent of cases the problems were dealt with within a month, but five per cent of home buyers were still struggling for six months to a year to get the complaint addressed.

Despite these concerns 81 per cent of respondents said they though the finish was ‘good’ or ‘very good’, while 90 per cent through the level of construction was ‘good’ or better.

The draft report was issued alongside a study on financing for homebuilders and land banks.

Heather Clayton, Senior Director of Infrastructure, said: “These two reports form an important part of the picture on the market for new homes in the UK.

“The next step is to discuss these and other findings with our stakeholders, asking if they indicate that the market is broadly competitive and whether there is room for improvement in homebuyer satisfaction levels.”

The reports were prompted by the Barker Review of Housing Supply 2004, which called on the industry to increase levels of customer satisfaction and to introduce a Code of Conduct. The OFT believes the industry has not fully complied with this recommendation.