NEW YORK - Pulte Homes Inc dominates an annual ranking of customer satisfaction in 24 major U.S. housing markets, according to an annual survey.

The survey, by J.D. Power and Associates, ranked Pulte No. 1 in 12 markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Tucson, Washington, D.C. and San Antonio.

Pulte last month became the biggest U.S. home builder through its purchase of Centex Corp. Centex was top-ranked in the Charleston, South Carolina market.

Rival Lennar Corp. ranked first in Jacksonville; Hovnanian Enterprises Inc ranked first in Northern New Jersey; M/I Homes Inc was top in Columbus, Ohio; and Standard Pacific Corp came first in the Charlotte market. Private builders ranked highest in terms of customer satisfaction in the remaining markets.

The survey asks responders to rate workmanship and materials, warranty, customer service, and price. It also asks about the quality of the sales staff and construction manager, among other factors.

J.D. Power found that home buyers are more concerned with workmanship and materials than in prior years, while factors like home readiness have become less important, partly reflecting the large supply of finished homes. More homes are also being delivered on time than in 2008.

Overall, national customer satisfaction rose to 811 on a 1,000-point scale, up 32 points from last year. A measure of new home quality also rose, and the survey found buyers were reporting fewer problems with their homes, according to J.D. Power, a unit of McGraw-Hill. (Reporting by Nick Zieminski; editing by Gunna Dickson)