J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Monarch Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with New-Home Builders in Ottawa-Carleton



    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Monarch Corporation ranks highest in satisfying
new-home buyers in the Ottawa-Carleton region, according to the J.D. Power and
Associates 2007 Canadian New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study(SM)
released today.
    The study, now in its second year, measures customer satisfaction
throughout the new-home purchase and early ownership experience. Owners are
asked to evaluate their builder in the following areas: sales staff, design
centre, home readiness, customer service, price/value, physical design, home
quality and location.
    Overall satisfaction in the Ottawa-Carleton region increases to 684 (on a
1,000-point scale) in 2007, improving from 661 in 2006. While Ottawa-Carleton
builders have made improvements across all eight factors that contribute to
overall satisfaction, one of the most considerable gains is in customer
service - one of the two factors home buyers consider most important. Home
readiness is the other factor most important to buyers.
    "The 3.5 per cent improvement in overall satisfaction in 2007 is a
positive step forward for Ottawa-Carleton builders," said Darren Slind, senior
director of real estate and performance improvement practices at the Canadian
office of J.D. Power and Associates. "Builders have increasingly focused on
better aligning their customer handling and home quality processes to meet
expectations of new-home buyers, and this effort is clearly starting to pay
off."
    However, there is still a considerable gap between the highest- and
lowest-performing builders that spans 176 index points.
    "This wide gap creates a meaningful competitive advantage for builders
who can credibly differentiate their brand on the basis of customer
satisfaction," said Slind. "This advantage will become even more important
should market conditions soften and the balance of power continues to shift
from builder to buyer."
    Monarch Corporation ranks highest in new-home buyer satisfaction in
Ottawa-Carleton. Monarch performs particularly well in seven of the eight
factors that contribute to overall satisfaction. Urbandale follows Monarch in
the ranking. Richcraft and Minto also perform above industry average.
    The study finds that satisfaction is critical to home-owner loyalty and
advocacy levels. Home buyers who say they are highly satisfied (providing
ratings of 9 and 10 on a 10-point satisfaction scale) provide more than four
times the number of recommendations to their friends, relatives and colleagues
than home buyers who are "indifferent" about their home buying experience
(providing ratings of 5 and 6).
    The study also finds that Ottawa-Carleton builders are making
considerable progress in their ability to deliver homes with higher initial
quality, as measured by the lower number of construction deficiencies reported
by home owners. Compared with 2006, Ottawa-Carleton builders have reduced the
number of construction problems by 19 per cent-from an average of 27.9 to 22.7
per home.
    "While there is still much work to be done, the quality improvements
achieved since 2006 represent a notable accomplishment for the industry," said
Slind. "Builders who take responsibility for quality long before the
pre-delivery inspection are leading the industry's efforts to build homes
right the first time."
    When problems do arise, new-home owners are most satisfied with builders
who respond in a timely manner and who provide efficient service by
coordinating completion of multiple repairs on the same visit.
    "Builders with the most highly satisfied customers work closely with
their trade partners to schedule service response to minimize inconvenience
and aggravation for the home owner," said Slind. "These builders also
carefully analyze their home quality and repair records to uncover the root
causes of construction problems. They understand the goal is not to achieve
proficiency in fixing problems, but to prevent them in the first place."
    The 2007 Canadian New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study is based
on the responses of 760 buyers within the Ottawa-Carleton region who purchased
newly built single-family detached, semi-detached and townhomes. All buyers
surveyed closed their home purchase in 2006. The study was fielded from March
to May 2007. J.D. Power and Associates also measures customer satisfaction
with new-home builders in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). For more
comprehensive information on Ottawa-Carleton and GTA builders, visit the J.D.
Power Consumer Center at www.jdpower.com/canada.

    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. The firm's quality and
satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers
annually. 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.

    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

    NOTE: Chart available upon request





For further information:

For further information: Media Relations Contacts: Alexandra Cygal, Cohn
& Wolfe, Toronto, Canada, (647) 259-3266, Alexandra.cygal@cohnwolfe.ca;
Syvetril Perryman, J.D. Power and Associates, Westlake Village, Calif., (805)
418-8103, syvetril.perryman@jdpa.com

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