Annual New Home Owner Survey
Each year, Tarion conducts an annual customer satisfaction survey of Ontario’s new home owners. The survey allows homeowners to rate the performance of both their builder and Tarion and share their experience throughout the purchase, possession and after-sales stages of ownership.
To allow the maximum number of homeowners to participate, we send out two separate homeowner surveys. The first survey went to 54,518 new home owners in their first year of ownership: specifically, people who took possession or occupancy of their new home or condo between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018. Despite the challenge of rotating Canada Post strikes that lasted five weeks, we managed to exceed last year’s response rate, receiving 11,376 completed responses, representing a response rate of 21 per cent versus our 2017 response rate of 20 per cent.
Our second survey of homeowners was directed to those people in their second to seventh year of homeownership. We almost doubled the number of surveys sent out – either by email or postage mail – from 68,708 in 2017 to 114,409 in 2018. Although the number of completed responses increased from 10,835 to 14,050, the overall response rate was only 12 per cent (as compared to 16 per cent in 2017).
Both surveys were conducted by Forum Research Inc., a highly respected third-party research firm based in Toronto. Executive Summaries of all our customer satisfaction surveys are published on our website.
The goals of this research are threefold. First, we want to better understand homeowners’ perceptions of Tarion’s service and processes across all stages of the new home warranty lifecycle. Tarion uses the insights gained from this research to gauge its corporate performance each year. Second, we use homeowner feedback about their builder to acknowledge best practices in customer service and to provide feedback to builders on how they can improve their processes. Where responses are statistically valid, builders are provided with a copy of their results, as well as a comparison of their results to those in their category. Tarion also offers customer service training to builders who need or want to improve their service and results.
Finally, the results of the first-year survey are used to determine the finalists and recipients of the Homeowners’ Choice Awards in four categories: High-Rise (more than 100 high-rise possessions in the year); Large Volume (more than 100 freehold possessions in the year); Medium Volume (21–100 possessions in the year); and Small Volume (5–20 possessions in the year). These awards recognize service excellence and the recipients have their awards listed in their profiles on the Ontario Builder Directory.
Homeowner Survey – Year One
Survey results show that almost two-thirds of first-year homeowners feel their builder met or exceeded their expectations (62 per cent – unchanged from 2017) and just over half would recommend their builder to family or friends (53 per cent – up 1 percentage point from 2017). Homeowners of micro-volume builders (1–4 possessions per year) are generally the most satisfied with their experience with their new home and their builder (70 per cent – down 2 percentage points from 2017) while homeowners of large-volume builders are generally the least satisfied (58 per cent – an increase of 2 percentage points from 2017).
Although overall homeowner satisfaction with builders is relatively unchanged, their satisfaction with Tarion – measured by the Service Orientation Index – rose almost 3 percentage points from 2017. After remaining relatively stable since 2014, this is the most significant jump since 2012.
Survey results also showed that the overall impression of Tarion is favourable amongst homeowners in all builder volume categories (85 per cent) and has actually risen 4 percentage points from 2017. As in past years, Tarion received the highest rating for accessibility and there was a 3 percentage point increase (from 79 percent to 82 per cent) in scores for the ‘Gives buyers confidence in the homebuying experience’ and ‘Ensures fairness in overseeing warranty rights and obligations’ criteria.
Annual Homeowner Survey – Years 2 to 7
A total of 114,409 new home owners who took possession of their homes between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018 received survey invitations by email or postage mail. We received 14,050 completed surveys providing a total margin of error of +/- 0.77 percentage points.
2018 Year 2 to 7 Survey results remain unchanged from 2017 on the key measurables.
In most cases, the opinions of homeowners in the first-year possession survey are quite similar to the opinions of homeowners in their second year of possession. Satisfaction levels generally decline marginally in each of years 1, 2 and 3. The results on virtually every comparable measure show there is a further incremental “step down” whereby those homeowners in their fourth and fifth year of possession share similar but less favourable views. Similarly, homeowners in their sixth and seventh years of possession share similar but even less favourable views than those earlier in the warranty lifecycle.
It should be noted that homeowners in later warranty stages were significantly less likely to have had contact with Tarion in the last year. For example, approximately two-thirds of homeowners in the second year of their warranty contacted Tarion (64 per cent) while only 15 per cent of homeowners in the seventh year had any contact with Tarion.
Overall, 87 per cent of homeowners in years 2 to 7 felt Tarion’s commitment to customer service had improved or remained the same based on their experiences.
Annual Builder Survey
Tarion’s annual builder survey is conducted concurrently with our annual homeowner surveys each year.
Forum Research Inc. conducted this survey by telephone with 267 builders across all categories (micro, small, medium,and large volume as well as high-rise). In order to better gauge the satisfaction of smaller builders in the province, over half the sample was micro or small builders. Results from 2018 showed a significant drop in the key measurables, with the Service Orientation Index decreasing from 83 per cent to 79 per cent.
Overall, based on their personal experiences, 81 per cent of builders across all size categories have a favourable impression of Tarion, with the highest ranking from high-rise builders. Similar to the 2017 results, builders were most likely to identify the following characteristics with Tarion:
- Dependability; and
With regard to performance, builders in all categories ranked Tarion highest in the ‘Encouraging builders to provide good customer service’, ‘Courtesy’ and ‘Applying builder licensing policies and processes effectively’ criteria.
Recognizing the Best in Customer Service
Homeowners' Choice Awards
A new home purchase is not just a transaction but an experience – and it’s up to the builder to make it a positive one.
The Homeowners' Choice Awards are the only awards that give Ontario's new home buyers the power to have their new home builder recognized for excellent customer service.
The finalists and recipients are selected via annual customer service satisfaction surveys sent to new home owners who have taken possession of a home in the previous year. The survey asks homeowners to rate their satisfaction with their builders, from the point of signing of the agreement of purchase and sale, through construction and the pre-delivery period, to after-sales service.
The 2018 Homeowners’ Choice Awards were based on the results of over 11,000 surveys completed by homeowners.
Tarion hosted a luncheon to recognize the finalists and recipients, and awards were presented to:
- Kolody Homes – Small Volume Category
- Talos Custom Homes Ltd. – Medium Volume Category
- Hayhoe Homes – Large Volume Category
- Plazacorp Investments – High-Rise Category
Ernest Assaly Award
In 2017, Tarion announced a new award – the Ernest Assaly Award – for a new home builder recognized as a leader in quality home building, innovation and community service.
The award is named after Mr. Ernest Assaly, Tarion's first Board Chair (1976 to 1988). He was a passionate voice for the builder's warranty program and a highly respected, award-winning builder and leader in Ontario's residential construction industry. Similar to a lifetime achievement award, a builder can only receive this recognition once.
Ontario has more than 5,000 registered builders, but only 90 met the challenging eligibility criteria and were invited to make a full nomination submission to Tarion. Finalists and this year’s recipient were selected by Tarion's Board of Directors.
The winner of the 2018 Ernest Assaly Award was Tridel