18% rise in number of new build home completions



The number of homes completed in Scotland reached the highest annual total since 2008 after an 18% increase in new build homes, new figures have shown.

The latest Quarterly Housing Statistics for Scotland found there were 21,403 new build homes completed across all sectors over the year ending June 2019, an increase of 18%, or 3,210 homes, on the previous year.

The rise included increases in private sector (19% or 2,610 homes) and housing association completions (20% or 664 homes), whilst local authority completions fell by 64 homes (4%). The total number of social sector completions (housing association and local authority starts combined) increased by 600 homes (13%).

Work to build 23,700 new homes was also started in year to June 2019, up by 4,340 homes (22%) on 2018 figures, while nearly 11,000 affordable homes were started in the period to September 2019.

Private-led starts increased by 4,175 homes (33%), housing association approvals increased by 56 homes (1%), and local authority starts increased by 109 homes (6%). The total number of social sector starts (housing association and local authority starts combined) increased by 165 homes (2%).

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the figures demonstrate how the Scottish Government is “delivering more housing in Scotland”. 

He added: “From private to social housing, it is encouraging that both new build starts and completions have increased this year, providing more people with a warm, safe place they can call home. The increase points to the strength of Scotland’s new build housing sector.

“We shall continue to push towards our ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.”

Welcoming the 18% rise in the total number of new build homes completed over the year ending June 2019 reported today, trade body Homes for Scotland emphasised the importance of both social and private housing sectors receiving clarity on the future funding intentions of the Scottish Government if momentum is to be maintained.

Chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “Today’s figures are very encouraging, but a deeper delve into the statistics reveals a five per cent drop in completions between Q1 and Q2 2019, demonstrating the fragility that still exists across the housing market.

“This is currently being compounded by a lack of clarity over the Scottish Government’s future funding intentions for those building much needed new homes for both social rent and owner-occupation. Whilst the delay to the UK budget has constrained the Scottish Government, it is nonetheless imperative that confirmation be provided as soon as possible if the housing growth we have seen is to continue.

“As well as ensuring that both buyers and builders north of the border are not disadvantaged in relation to the Help to Buy scheme (which is due to end here two years earlier than in England), it is critical that our Registered Social Landlord members receive certainty on grant funding levels post-2021. This will enable builders across the housing spectrum to plan their investment programmes accordingly to deliver more homes for Scotland.”

Gordon MacRae, assistant director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is very welcome news that the Scottish Government is generally on target to deliver its commitment of 35,000 new social homes during the lifetime of this parliament - the most of any government in Scotland since devolution.

“However, as no plan is in place for what happens next, we face a cliff-edge post-2021 with the prospect that the progress made is squandered and the capacity Scotland will have built to deliver new social homes – such as skills and resources - will once more be under threat of withering on the vine.

“Finance secretary Derek Mackay needs to address the issue of how many new social homes the next Scottish Government would commit to fund through the lifetime of the next parliament and beyond if this good progress is to continue.”

The total number of long-term empty properties and second homes has increased in the latest year by 1,260 properties (2%) from 64,017 in September 2018 to 65,277, the third consecutive annual increase.

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “Most homes become empty due to natural life events such as people dying or moving into residential care.

“The challenge for local authorities is to provide effective support to owners to bring them back into use so they don’t get stuck empty for years.

“Last year the combined effort of empty homes officers in 20 local councils in Scotland and our own Empty Homes Advice Service brought back 1,128 homes.

“The latest figures for the current year show that another record-breaking year is in sight. Anyone who needs advice on what to do with their own empty property or one in their neighbourhood can find out more information on our website emptyhomespartnership.scot.”

Key Points

New Build Housing – All Sectors

  • there were 5,342 new build homes completed between April and June 2019; a 2% increase (111 homes) on the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 21,403, up 18% (3,210 homes) compared to the 18,193 completed in the previous year
  • there were 5,620 new build homes started between April and June 2019, 18% more (857 homes) than the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 23,700 which is up 22% (4,340 homes) compared to the 19,360 homes started in the previous year, and is the highest annual starts figure since 2008.

New Build Housing – Private-led Housing

  • between April and June 2019, 4,486 private sector led homes were completed; 8% more (315 homes) than the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 16,025 which is 19% more (2,610 homes) than the 13,415 completions in the previous year
  • there were 4,427 private sector led starts between April and June 2019, 22% more (800 homes) than the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year ending June 2019 to 16,924 which is 33% more (4,175 homes) than the 12,749 starts in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Social Sector Housing (Housing Association and Local Authority combined)

  • there were 856 social sector completions between April and June 2019, 19% (204 homes) less than the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 5,378. This is a 13% increase on the 4,778 social sector completions in the previous year
  • meanwhile, 1,193 social sector homes were started between April and June 2019; 5% (57 homes) more than in the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end June 2019 to 6,776. This is a 2% increase on the 6,611 social sector starts in the previous year
  • more up-to-date figures show that, between July and September 2019, 1,317 social sector homes were completed (2% less than the 1,346 completions in the same quarter in 2018), and 1,342 were started (39% more than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end September 2019 to 5,349 (a 6% increase on the 5,070 social sector homes completed in the previous year). Total starts over the 12 months to end September 2019 are now at 7,154 (7% more than the 6,707 started in the previous year).

New Build Housing – Housing Association Homes

  • there were 410 Housing Association completions between April and June 2019, 37% (242 homes) less completions than in the same period in the previous year. This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end June 2019 to 3,927, which is an increase of 20% on the 3,263 homes completed in the previous year
  • there were 707 housing association approvals between April 2019 and June 2019; 15% (94 homes) more than the 613 approvals in the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total approvals for the 12 months to end June 2019 to 4,932, a 1% increase on the 4,876 approvals in the previous year
  • more up-to-date figures show that a total of 896 Housing Association homes were completed between July 2019 and September 2019, 12% (124 homes) fewer completions than in the same period in the previous year. This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end September 2019 to 3,803, which is an increase of 6% on the 3,598 homes completed in the previous year. A total of 746 Housing Association homes were approved between July and September 2019, 23% more homes than the 606 approvals in the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total approvals for the 12 months to end September 2019 to 5,072, a 1% increase on the 5,002 approvals in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Local Authority Homes

  • there were 446 local authority completions between June and April 2019, which is 9% (38 homes) more than the number that were completed in the same quarter in 2018. This brings the total for year ending June 2019 to 1,451. This is a 4% (64 homes) decrease on the 1,515 completions in the previous year
  • there were 486 local authority starts between April and June 2019; 7% less (37 homes) than in the same quarter in the previous year. This brings the total for year ending June 2019 to 1,844. This is a 6% (109 homes) increase on the 1,735 starts in the previous year
  • more up-to-date figures show that, between July and September 2019, 421 local authority houses were completed (29% more than the same quarter in the previous year), and 596 were started (66% more than in the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the year to end September 2019 to 1,546, which is 5% more than the previous year. Total starts for the 12 months to end March 2019 now stands at 2,082 which is an increase of 22% on the 1,705 local authority homes started in the previous year.

Affordable Housing Supply – up to end September 2019

  • affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) statistics reflect the broader supply of affordable homes (i.e. for social rent, affordable rent and affordable home ownership) and include off-the-shelf purchases and rehabilitations as well as new builds
  • the latest statistics for the year to end September 2019 show that affordable housing supply completions have totalled to 8,976, down 1% on the 9,034 completions in the previous year. This includes increases in social rent completions (up by 20% or 1,086 homes) but decreases in affordable rent completions (down by 21% or 218 homes) and affordable home ownership completions (down by 38% or 926 homes)
  • there were 11,398 affordable housing approvals over the year up to end September 2019, down 2% or 177 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in social rent approvals (up by 16% or 1167 homes) but decreases in affordable rent approvals (down by 26% or 463 homes) and affordable home ownership approvals (down by 35% or 881 homes)
  • there were 10,855 affordable houses started in the year to end September 2019, up by 1% or 128 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in social rent starts (up by 17% or 1,098 homes), but decreases in affordable rent starts (down by 29% or 530 homes) and affordable home ownership starts (down by 19% or 440 homes)
    quarterly affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016/17 to 2020/21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees.

Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes

  • the total number of long term empty properties and second homes has increased in the latest year by 1,260 properties (2%) from 64,017 in September 2018 to 65,277, the third consecutive annual increase. However the figure as at September 2019 is 776 homes (1%) lower than the 66,053 properties recorded as at September 2012.