J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Centex Homes Receives Platinum Award for Excellence in Home Building and Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction in 14 U.S. Markets; Pulte Homes Ranks Highest in 11 Markets


Centex Homes, Pulte Homes and CTX Mortgage Lead Rankings for Inaugural New-Home Quality, New-Home Design, and Builder Mortgage Origination Studies, Respectively

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Even in the midst of a downturn in the housing market, Centex Homes receives the Platinum Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction and ranks highest in 14 of the 34 largest home-building markets in the United States — more than any other new-home builder in 2007 — while Pulte Homes, including its Del Webb and DiVosta brands, ranks highest in 11 markets, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study(SM)released today.

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To qualify for the Platinum Award, a home builder corporation must be included in at least one-half of the markets surveyed in the study; achieve above market-average scores for each division of the corporation, and earn an average index score that exceeds the 90th percentile of the study average.

“The downturn in the housing market over the past year has presented numerous challenges to home builders, some of whom have had to curtail building as sales have slowed,” said Paula Sonkin , vice president of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “As a result, the new-home selling environment has changed dramatically, and new-home builders must now increase their focus on providing buyers with a satisfying purchase experience — which is a shift from the order-taking mode that was common in the industry until recently. Builders that consistently perform well in customer satisfaction, such as Centex and Pulte, tend to integrate processes across multiple aspects of the customer experience that provide buyers with not only an excellent product, but also superior service.”

The New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study and inaugural New-Home Quality Study are conducted in 34 of the largest home-building markets. The New-Home Design Study is conducted in 31 of these markets, while the inaugural New-Home Builder Mortgage Origination Study is conducted in 17 markets.

Overall Customer Satisfaction

The New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study, now in its 11th year, includes satisfaction ratings for builders in 34 markets. Nine factors drive overall customer satisfaction with home builders (listed in order of importance): builder’s warranty/customer service (16%); construction manager (15%); builder’s sales staff (13%); home readiness (13%); price/value (12%); workmanship/materials (10%); recreational facilities (8%); builder’s design center (7%); and location (5%).

Besides Centex and Pulte, other builders topping market rankings include: David Weekley Homes (which ties with Centex in Austin); Granville Homes (headquartered in Fresno , Calif.); Huntington Homes ( Dallas , Texas); Mattamy Homes (Oakville, Ontario, Canada ); Shea Homes (Walnut, Calif.); Standard Pacific Homes (Irvine, Calif.); Tim Lewis Communities (Citrus Heights, Calif.); Van Metre Homes (Washington, D.C.); and John Wieland Homes ( Atlanta , Ga.).

Overall, customer satisfaction levels have remained steady since 2006. Markets experiencing the largest customer satisfaction improvements include the Central Valley, Calif.; Jacksonville , Fla.; Minneapolis ; and Nashville .

“In times like these, as builders attempt to attract customers and close sales in the midst of tightening credit and weakening demand, differentiation through customer satisfaction, new-home quality, design and mortgage origination become especially important,” said Sonkin. “On the other hand, there are still some markets where housing sales are healthy, and keeping satisfaction levels high in these aspects — which are of primary importance to potential buyers — will be critical to remaining competitive.”

2007 New-Home Quality Study

The inaugural J.D. Power and Associates New-Home Quality Study(SM) measures the occurrence and impact of construction problems experienced by new-home owners in 34 markets. The study utilizes an index that takes into account the number of problems that occur, the severity of problems and size of the home, and covers 48 different problem categories for the following aspects (listed in order of impact on customer satisfaction): home exterior (28%); flooring/stairs (20%); kitchen (11%); drywall (10%); windows/doors (9%); electrical/appliances (8%); bathroom (6%); interior paint (6%); and other significant problems (2%).

Centex Homes ranks highest in 12 markets, while Pulte Homes ranks highest in eight markets.

The study results include the following key findings: * Overall, home quality has improved since 2006. The typical new-home buyer reports 13 problems with their new home in 2007, a 7 percent decrease from 2006. * New-home buyers in Minneapolis report the highest new-home quality levels — averaging 7 problems per home — while new-home buyers in Washington D.C. report the lowest quality with 19 problems per home, on average. * The four problem areas that detract most from home-buyer satisfaction are: sidewalk, driveway and foundation cracks; crooked walls; visible carpet seams; and landscaping.

2007 New-Home Design Study

The inaugural J.D. Power and Associates New-Home Design Study(SM) measures customer experiences in 31 markets with design and aesthetic aspects of the new home. Seven factors drive satisfaction with new-home design: flooring (22%); master/primary bathroom (17%); kitchen (14%); interior comfort/environment (13%); exterior architectural design (12%); floor plan/layout (12%); and windows and exterior doors (10%).

Centex Homes and Pulte Homes each achieve the highest ranking in nine of 31 markets.

The study also includes the following key findings: * Home buyers report that having a convenient arrangement of bathroom fixtures is more important than the size of a master/primary bathroom. * The size of the kitchen and the appearance of the sink and faucets are more important to home buyers than a convenient arrangement of fixtures.

2007 Builder Mortgage Originator Study

The inaugural J.D. Power and Associates New-Home Builder Mortgage Originator Study(SM) measures the experience of new-home owners who used a builder-owned mortgage company to originate a home loan. Three factors drive satisfaction with builder mortgage origination (listed in order of importance): loan officer/representative (40%); closing (33%); and application/approval process (27%).

CTX Mortgage, the builder mortgage originator for Centex Homes, ranks highest in 12 of 17 markets in the inaugural study.

The study results include the following key findings: * The vast majority of new-home buyers take advantage of mortgage origination services when offered by their home builder due to competitive rates, and easier and more seamless processes. * Home builders have traditionally offered price reductions or lower interest rates to new-home buyers as sales incentives, but builders are also offering more unusual incentives such as waiving homeowners association fees for a limited time or providing golf club memberships.

The 2007 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 50,399 buyers of newly built single-family homes who provided feedback after living in their homes an average of four to 18 months. For more comprehensive builder rankings for all 34 U.S. markets, visit www.jdpower.com/homes .

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion . Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com .

Media Relations Contacts: Elaine Pacheco John Tews Cohn & Wolfe J.D. Power and Associates Los Angeles, Calif. 90069 Troy, Mich. (310) 967-2961 (248) 312-4119 Elaine_pacheco (at) cohnwolfe (dot) com john.tews (at) jdpa (dot) com Peter Dadlani J.D. Power and Associates Westlake Village, Calif. (805) 418-8103 peter.dadlani (at) jdpa (dot) com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

Markets Included in New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study and New-Home Quality Study Albuquerque, NM(1) Atlanta, GA(2) Austin, TX(2) Bakersfield, CA* Central Valley, CA Charleston, SC(1)* Charlotte, NC(2) Chicago, IL(2) Columbus, OH(1)* Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX(2) Denver/Colorado Springs, CO(2) Fresno, CA* Ft. Myers/Naples, FL(1) Houston, TX(2) Inland Empire, CA(2) Jacksonville, FL(1) Los Angeles/Ventura County, CA(1) Las Vegas, NV(2) Minneapolis, MN(2) Myrtle Beach, SC(1)* Nashville, TN(1) Orange County, CA(1) Orlando, FL(2) Palm Beach, FL(1) Philadelphia, PA(1) Phoenix, AZ(2) Raleigh/Durham, NC(1) Sacramento, CA(2) San Antonio, TX(2) San Diego, CA(1) San Francisco Bay Area, CA(1) Tampa Bay, FL(2) Tucson, AZ(2) Washington, D.C.(2) * New markets added to the study in 2007. (1) This market is also included in the New-Home Design Study. (2) This market is also included in the New-Home Design and New-Home Builder Mortgage Origination studies Top Three Builders in Overall Customer Satisfaction by Market Albuquerque, NM Highest: Pulte Centex (tie) KB (tie) Atlanta, GA Highest: John Wieland Centex David Weekley Austin, TX Highest: Centex (tie) Highest: David Weekley (tie) Standard Pacific Bakersfield, CA Highest: Centex Castle & Cooke Lennar Central Valley, CA* Highest: Pulte Charleston, SC* Highest: Centex KB Home Charlotte, NC Highest: John Wieland (tie) Highest: Mattamy (tie) Centex Chicago, IL Highest: Del Webb Lakewood (tie) Pulte (tie) Columbus, OH Highest: Centex M/I Homes Dominion Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX Highest: Huntington Fox & Jacobs Centex Denver/Colorado Springs, CO Highest: Shea Centex Pulte Fresno, CA Highest: Granville Centex Lennar Ft. Myers/Naples, FL Highest: Pulte DiVosta Centex Houston, TX Highest: Pulte Village Builders Centex Inland Empire, CA Highest: Centex Del Webb Shea Jacksonville, FL Highest: Pulte Beazer Mattamy Los Angeles/Ventura, CA Highest: Pulte Centex Shea Las Vegas, NV Highest: Centex Del Webb Pulte Minneapolis, MN Highest: Centex Pulte Lennar Myrtle Beach, SC* Highest: Centex D.R. Horton Nashville, TN Highest: Centex Jones Co. of Tennessee (tie) Ole South Properties (tie) Orange County, CA Highest: Standard Pacific John Laing Lennar Orlando, FL Highest: Pulte Centex David Weekley Palm Beach, FL Highest: DiVosta Minto Communities Centex Philadelphia, PA Highest: Del Webb J.S. Hovnanian & Sons T.H. Properties Phoenix, AZ Highest: Centex Del Webb (tie) Farnsworth (tie) Shea (tie) Raleigh/Durham, NC Highest: Centex Lennar Standard Pacific Sacramento, CA Highest: Tim Lewis Communities Centex Pulte San Antonio, TX Highest: Centex Pulte Medallion San Diego, CA Highest: Shea Standard Pacific Lennar San Francisco Bay Area, CA Highest: Centex Shea Pulte Tampa Bay, FL Highest: Centex DiVosta Pulte Tucson, AZ Highest: Del Webb Pulte Lennar Washington, D.C. Highest: Van Metre Centex Del Webb (tie) Drees Custom (tie) *No other builder in this market performs above the market average. Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Paula Sonkin http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=58145

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

© 2007 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.


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