Housing Development

Shea Homes Again Ranks Highest In Customer Satisfaction Among New-Home Builders In Valley, Report Indicates

For the third straight year, Shea Homes ranks highest in customer satisfaction with new-home builders in the Phoenix market, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study released today.

“The downturn of the housing market — along with intensified competition for a very limited pool of home buyers — has reinforced the importance of customer focus for new-home builders,” says Dale Haines, senior director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “In this buyers’ market, builders that are attentive to customer needs and focus on relationship building stand the best chance of enduring through the market recovery.”

The study, now in its 14th year, includes satisfaction rankings for builders in 17 markets. Nine factors drive overall customer satisfaction with new-home builders: builder’s sales staff; builder’s warranty/customer service staff; workmanship/materials; price/value; home readiness; construction manager; recreational facilities provided by the builder; builder’s design center; and location.

Shea Homes achieved a score of 922 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010 — which represents an increase of 19 points from 903 in 2009 — and performs particularly well in the Phoenix market in six of the nine factors: builder’s sales staff; builder’s design center; construction manager; workmanship/materials; home readiness; and builder’s warranty/customer service staff.

The average customer satisfaction index score in the Phoenix market is 872 — 46 points above the 17-market average of 826. Satisfaction has improved substantially in the Phoenix market in 2010 — up 29 points from 2009.

Overall customer satisfaction across all 17 markets has improved for a third consecutive year, averaging 826 — the highest level since the inception of the study in 1997. Markets with the highest levels of overall satisfaction in 2010 include Phoenix, Las Vegas, southern California, Orlando, Fla., and Sacramento, Calif. Overall satisfaction has increased in 15 of the 17 individual markets that were also surveyed in 2009.

Centex Homes ranks highest in new-home quality in the Phoenix market. Home quality in the Phoenix market has improved considerably from 2009, averaging 856 in 2010 — up by 26 points from the previous year.

The problems reported most often in this market include: landscaping issues, exterior paint, and kitchen cabinet quality/finish.

Overall new-home quality across all 17 markets has increased notably to an average of 844 in 2010, reaching a record high. Home quality has improved from 2009 in 15 of the 17 markets. Overall, the most commonly reported quality problems include issues with landscaping; kitchen cabinet quality and finish; and heating and air conditioning.

New-home builders have improved from 2009 in raising awareness of the “green” features of their homes. Approximately 61 percent of new-home owners in the Phoenix market in 2010 perceive that their home is environmentally friendly, compared with just 31 percent in 2009. In addition, the proportion of new-home owners in the Phoenix market who indicate that their builder did not identify the home as green has declined to 51 percent in 2010 from 63 percent in 2009.

“In this hypercompetitive market, green features have become a crucial selling point, since new-home buyers are seeking to save on energy costs, as well as to increase the value of their home,” Haines says.

To be included in the studies, Phoenix-area builders must have closed 150 or more homes in the market in 2009. The new homes are located in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

The studies are based on responses from more than 16,400 buyers of newly built single-family homes that provided feedback after living in their home from 4 to 18 months, on average. There were 1,641 respondents in the Phoenix market.

For rankings for all 17 U.S. markets, visit www.jdpower.com/homes.