“Major faults” in over half of England’s new-builds

Research has revealed that 51 per cent of new build homes across England have experienced ‘major’ faults.

Conducted by YouGov for the housing charity Shelter, the survey found that 51 per cent of homeowners reported experiences of major problems with construction, utility faults and poorly or unfinished furnishings.

Figures were published alongside a Shelter report, entitled New Civic Housebuilding, with 4,341 UK adults taking part in the YouGov online survey. Shelter concluded in its report that the housebuilding sector has been favouring big developers and land traders over those who will eventually live in the homes.

Graeme Brown, Shelter’s interim chief executive, commented:

“For decades we’ve relied on this broken system and, despite the sweeteners offered to developers to build the homes we need, it simply hasn’t worked.

“The current way of building has had its day, and it has failed the nation.”

The release follows Bovis Homes’ recent £7m compensation to its customers, after angry customers formed a Facebook pressure group complaining about services received.

According to the Shelter report, the system is currently skewed, producing houses that are both of poor quality and yet also expensive.

Figures released indicated that eight in 10 working, private renting families cannot afford to buy a newly built home regardless of the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme. The numbers were at their worst in the West Midlands, in which 93 per cent of families were found to be unable to purchase an averagely priced new home.

Shelter has proposed an equity partnership model to bring down the cost of land. If adopted, this model would see landowners put their land into a business partnership as equity over the long term, benefitting from rising values year after year, rather than taking a one-off windfall payment.

The report said the most “important risk taken by a speculative developer is how much to pay for a plot of land.”

“This is fundamental to the speculative housebuilding model,” it explained, “as land is often the single largest cost in building homes, especially in the areas which need homes most.”