Pulte Homes took top honors in the latest J.D. Power and Associates homebuilder customer satisfaction survey, released today. Pulte, including its Del Webb and DiVosta brands, ranked highest in customer satisfaction in 14 of the 25 largest U.S. home-building markets and received J.D. Power and Associates’ Platinum Award for Excellence in Customer Service.

The 2004 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 64,502 buyers of newly built single-family homes who provided feedback after living in their homes from 4 to 18 months, on average.

The Platinum Award recognizes homebuilder corporations that are represented in most of the markets studied, achieve above-average scores for each corporate division, and have an average index score that exceeds the 90th percentile of the study average.

“Pulte Homes continues to be a standout among new-homebuilders, repeatedly pushing the benchmark for customer satisfaction in the markets they serve,” said Paula Sonkin, executive director of the real estate industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “This is particularly impressive, considering the tremendous amount of competition we’re seeing in the industry.”

Other builders ranking highest in multiple markets include Centex in three markets and Lennar Homes, including its Greystone Homes brand, in two.

The study measures customer satisfaction with new-homebuilders in 25 U.S. markets, including five new markets for 2004: Detroit; Ft. Myers-Naples, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Diego (which was previously included in the Southern California market); and Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Other markets included in the study are: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Denver-Colorado Springs; Houston; Las Vegas; Minneapolis; Orlando, Fla.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, Calif.; Southern California; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.

Overall customer satisfaction continues to improve across the industry, increasing from 109 index points in 2003 to 112 in 2004. Satisfaction scores have increased in 18 of the 20 markets included in both the 2003 and 2004 studies, with the most notable increases seen in the Minneapolis, Raleigh/Durham, Las Vegas, Austin and Denver/Colorado Springs markets.

Las Vegas had the highest overall satisfaction index score, at 123, followed by Austin with 122, Phoenix with 119 and Dallas-Ft. Worth with 118. The lowest scores went to Jacksonville with 94, Philadelphia with 99, and Washington, D.C., with 101.

“The bar continues to be raised by builders committed to improving customer satisfaction, and the rewards come in the form of customers who are more likely to repurchase from the builder again, more likely to recommend the builder to others, and will likely tell more people about their positive experience,” Sonkin said. “In this kind of market, with builders increasingly focused on exceeding customer expectations, simply staying consistent will not allow builders to remain competitive.”

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.

Atlanta

Ashton Woods ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 22 Atlanta-area homebuilders. Following Ashton Woods in the rankings are John Wieland, and Pulte and Venture in a tie. Overall satisfaction in Atlanta is up 3 index points over 2003.

View the regional results.

Austin

KB Home ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 16 Austin-area homebuilders. Pulte and David Weekley follow KB Home in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Austin is up 7 index points over 2003. Austin builders achieve the second-highest overall customer satisfaction scores among all 25 markets in the study.

View the regional results.

Charlotte

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 18 Charlotte-area homebuilders. Ryan and Cambridge Homes follow Pulte in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Charlotte is up 2 index points over 2003.

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Chicago

Lakewood ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 21 Chicago-area homebuilders. Del Webb and Pulte follow Lakewood in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Chicago is up 2 index points over 2003.

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Dallas/Ft. Worth

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 33 Dallas/Ft. Worth-area homebuilders. Pulte is followed in the rankings by Darling, and Fox & Jacobs and Huntington in a tie, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Dallas/Ft. Worth is up 5 index points over 2003. Dallas/Ft. Worth builders achieve the fourth-highest overall customer satisfaction scores among all 25 markets in the study.

View the regional results.

Denver/Colorado Springs

Lennar Homes ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 22 Denver/Colorado Springs-area homebuilders. Shea and Keller follow Lennar Homes in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Denver/Colorado Springs is up 7 index points over 2003.

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Detroit

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among eight Detroit-area homebuilders. Detroit is included in the study for the first time.

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Ft. Myers/Naples

DiVosta ranks highest in customer satisfaction among nine Ft. Myers/Naples-area homebuilders. DiVosta is followed in the rankings by Pulte, and Centex and Lennar Homes in a tie, respectively. Ft. Myers/Naples is included in the study for the first time.

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Houston

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 29 Houston-area homebuilders. Following Pulte in the rankings are David Powers, KB Home and Perry in a three-way tie. Overall customer satisfaction in Houston is up 6 index points over 2003.

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Jacksonville

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 17 Jacksonville-area homebuilders. Centex and SEDA Construction follow Pulte in the rankings, respectively. Jacksonville is included in the study for the first time.

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Las Vegas

Del Webb ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 22 Las Vegas-area homebuilders. Pulte and KB Home follow Del Webb in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Las Vegas is up 7 index points over 2003. Las Vegas builders achieve the highest overall customer satisfaction scores among all 25 markets in the study.

View the regional results.

Minneapolis

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 14 Minneapolis-area homebuilders. Centex and Wensmann follow Pulte in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction is up 9 index points over 2003, making it the most improved market in the study.

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Orlando

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 27 Orlando-area homebuilders. Following Pulte in the rankings are Lennar Homes, and David Weekley and Holiday Builders in a tie, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Orlando is up 2 index points over 2003.

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Palm Beach

DiVosta ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 13 Palm Beach-area homebuilders. Centex and GL Home follow Pulte in the rankings in a tie. Overall customer satisfaction in Palm Beach is up 1 index point over 2003.

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Philadelphia

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 16 Philadelphia-area homebuilders. J.S. Hovnanian and Ryan follow Pulte in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Philadelphia is down 1 index point over 2003.

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Phoenix

Farnsworth ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 34 Phoenix-area homebuilders. Pulte and Greystone Homes follow Farnsworth in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in the Phoenix area is up 1 index point over 2003. Phoenix builders achieve the third-highest overall customer satisfaction scores among all 25 markets in the study. View the regional results.

Raleigh/Durham

Centex ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 11 Raleigh/Durham-area homebuilders. KB Home and Pulte follow Centex in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Raleigh/Durham is up 8 index points over 2003. Raleigh/Durham builders achieve the fifth-highest overall customer satisfaction scores among all 25 markets in the study. View the regional results.

Sacramento

Centex ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 26 Sacramento-area homebuilders. Del Webb and Elliott follow Centex in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Sacramento is up 7 index points over 2003.

View the regional results.

San Diego

Greystone Homes ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 14 San Diego-area homebuilders. Standard Pacific and Pulte follow Greystone Homes in the rankings, respectively. The San Diego market is surveyed separately from the Southern California market for the first time this year.

View the regional results.

San Francisco Bay Area

Christopherson ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 25 San Francisco Bay Area homebuilders. Centex and Pulte follow Christopherson in the rankings in a tie. Overall customer satisfaction in the San Francisco Bay Area is up 1 index point over 2003.

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Seattle/Tacoma

Centex ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 14 Seattle/Tacoma-area homebuilders. Conner and Shea follow Centex in the rankings, respectively. Seattle/Tacoma is included in the study for the first time.

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Southern California

California Pacific ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 40 Southern California-area homebuilders. Pulte and Del Webb follow California Pacific in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Southern California is up 7 index points over 2003.

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Tampa Bay

DiVosta ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 24 Tampa Bay-area homebuilders. Kimball Hill and Pulte follow DiVosta in the rankings in a tie. Overall customer satisfaction in Tampa Bay is up 3 index points over 2003.

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Tucson

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among seven Tucson-area homebuilders. A.F. Sterling and US Home follow Pulte in the rankings in a tie. Overall customer satisfaction in Tucson is unchanged over 2003.

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Washington, D.C.

Pulte ranks highest in customer satisfaction among 21 Washington, D.C.-area homebuilders. US Home and Del Webb follow Pulte in the rankings, respectively. Overall customer satisfaction in Washington, DC is up 1 index point over 2003.

View the regional results.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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