Seven out of 10 buyers find fault with their homes

Some 70 per cent of people buying newly built homes experience problems with the property, according to a survey by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Of these people, almost 20 per cent reported between 11 and 20 different problems, and 5 per cent said there had been over 50 instances.

Most of the problems were minor issues with decorating, glazing, plasterwork or appliances and did not cost the buyer anything to fix. But the 32 per cent whose moving-in date was delayed faced heavy costs, according to the report, which was based on a survey of 1,000 people who have bought a newly built home in the past two years.

The biggest issues were with central heating, the hot water supply and the windows. Among those those who have lived in their home for one to two years, the proportion with continuing problems was 40 per cent. Some 7 per cent said they had given up on ever getting the problems corrected.

More than half said they had wanted a newly built home mainly so they would not have to do any work when they moved in. But for many that has not proved to be the case.

Other reasons for choosing a new build included the absence of a chain at the seller's end and the freedom to choose fixtures and fittings.