"Once they had my money, they just didn't care," was a common refrain from new homebuyers surveyed by warranty provider Zurich Insurance for its Customer First survey. For all the customer care programmes and defects reduction initiatives, Zurich's survey (page 6), shows customers are still not very satisfied with the service they are getting from their housebuilders, or the quality of their new home.

In their defence, housebuilders might argue that this is because the customer is getting harder to please. Customers' expectations have grown and so has their confidence to challenge their housebuilder. Housebuilders may also have made a rod for their own back by launching their customer-friendly initiatives in a blaze of publicity. But the fact is that it is never going to get easier to satisfy your customers. Nowadays they don't just want a home that is defect-free, they want it to be perfect.

What buyers want also influences how much you can charge for your product, and where you build it. That's why we're adding to our Factfile section this month with SmartNewHomes' data on new homes demand.