New research into social tenants and social rented housing in Scotland has confirmed the ongoing trend towards more people living in the private rented sector and a reduction in available social housing stock over the long term.
Published yesterday by the Scottish Government, the report covers topic areas such as stock, household characteristics, housing flows, and rents and income levels up to the end of 2015.
The publication is based on an analysis of a range of existing data sources, and includes trend data for earlier years and comparisons with other housing tenures and with other parts of the UK.
According to the statistics, there were an estimated 1.14 million people living in social rented housing in Scotland in 2015, a similar figure to the estimated 1.15 million people in the previous year.
However between 1999 and 2009, the number of people living in social rented housing dropped by 23%.
Over the period from 2001 to 2015, the total number of dwellings in Scotland has increased by 10%. The number of social rented properties has dropped by 14%, whilst the number of private rented dwellings has more than doubled (a 121% increase), and the number of owner occupier dwellings has increased by 8%.
The proportional decrease in social rented stock in Scotland was higher than the 6% drop in England and 8% drop in Wales.
There were 595,052 social rented homes in Scotland in 2015 – 317,005 owned by councils and 278,047 owned by housing associations – a very slight increase of 86 homes compared to 2014.
In the period from 2013 to 2015, 87% of adults in Scottish social rented households were born in Scotland, 5% of adults stated that they were born in England, 4% said they were born in the EU (excluding UK and Ireland), 3% said they were born in the Rest of the World (i.e. outside Europe), with the remaining 1% being born in other areas.
More than a third of adults in social rented households – 38% – were employed, 22% were retired, 13% were permanently sick or disabled, 10% were looking after the home or family and 9% were unemployed.
The average weekly rent for a social housing let was £72.99, a 2.8% increase on 2014. Housing association rents averaged £81.14 per week, 20% higher than council rents at £67.57.
Nearly three-quarters of social housing tenants – 74% – had an annual income of £20,000 or less.
Annie Mauger, CIH Scotland executive director, said: “This comprehensive set of data provides a useful overview of key trends in Scotland’s social housing sector. It confirms the ongoing trend towards more people living in the private rented sector and a reduction in available social housing stock over the long term, albeit this has stabilised in recent years. It also shows the average size of households in decline which, combined with the impact of an ageing population, will add further pressure on housing in the years ahead. The data also points to ongoing progress in meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock – but with more work still to do.
“Overall, these statistics reinforce the argument for a continued focus on delivering more affordable homes in Scotland as demand for housing across all tenures looks set to continue to rise.”