Study Shows Growing Dissatisfaction Among Condo Buyers

"Condominium builders already grinding through one of the slowest markets in years got more unwelcome news in a new survey out this week that reveals a growing dissatisfaction among Toronto buyers.

The JD Power New-Condo Builder study showed that two of five condominium buyers in the Greater Toronto Area said they'd have purchased from another builder if given a second chance and only a third of buyers felt that their builder set realistic expectations and prepared them for what to expect. The most frequent irritant cited was occupancy delays, with two-thirds of the survey's respondents saying their builder did not meet their completion date targets, with an average wait of approximately seven months to take possession.

Overall satisfaction levels dropped 10 points from last year, driven primarily by decreased buyer satisfaction over prices and warranty issues.

Among builders, Tridel Corp. ranked the highest in satisfying new-condominium buyers for a fourth consecutive year.

"Condominium buyers are looking for their builders to deliver against their perceived commitments," said JD Power's Marc Thibault. "Either the buyer expected too much or the builder delivered too little - whichever the case, there is a disconnect, and communication lines need to be improved."

"Buying a new condominium is the first form of ownership for many Torontonians, and they are both excited and stressed when making this commitment. Home builders that are able to alleviate some of this stress by educating their buyers on what to expect and keeping them informed typically have far more satisfied buyers. In the absence of information, buyers may set unrealistic expectations."

Buyers who said they would opt for a different builder if given the choice cited a number of reasons, including poor communication from the builder; perceived misrepresentation; and delays in occupying the home.

The JD Power study measured customer satisfaction through purchase and early ownership based on eight factors: building readiness; service staff; shared features; home quality; price; sales staff; physical design and design centre. The 2009 study is based on responses from 745 homeowners who bought a new condominium in the GTA in 2008.

Overall satisfaction decreased to 612 on a scale of 1,000 in 2009, down 10 points from 622 in 2008.

Tridel ranked highest with an overall score of 730, performing particularly well in building readiness and service staff. Daniels Corp. (698) and Minto Urban Communities (691) followed Tridel in the rankings.

The study finds that only 45 per cent of buyers say that their builder's sales staff followed up with them after their initial visit to the sales centre.

"A lack of follow-up by sales staff might be overlooked in a strong housing market; however, this is not the case in today's market," said Mr. Thibault. "Builders need to pursue every prospect to maintain a healthy pipeline of sales.""


- Taken from Globe & Mail; Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung

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