Scottish Government ‘on track’ to meet 2016 affordable homes target



Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

The Scottish Government is ahead of its five-year target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by March 2016, despite a decrease in the number of social sector homes being built.

New statistics have revealed that a total of 3,353 social sector homes were completed in the year to end December, a decrease of 24 per cent (1,050 homes) on the previous year.

However, taken over a four year period from 2011-12, a total of 26,972 affordable homes have been delivered as part of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme – 90 per cent of the Scottish Government target. This includes 18,670 homes for social rent – 93 per cent of the social rent target.

Total completions under the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, which reflects a broader supply of affordable homes, increased by 1 per cent to 7,069 homes in the 2014/15 financial year.

Overall 15,541 homes were completed in the full year to end December 2014, 4 per cent (657 homes) more than the 14,884 completions in the previous year, however this was largely accounted for by a sharp increase in private-led new build homes.

A total of 12,188 private-led new build homes were completed in the year to end December 2014, an increase of 16 per cent (1,707 homes) on the previous year.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said the figures show the Scottish Government is on track to reach its 2016 affordable homes target.

She said: “Housing is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country and the supply of affordable housing is a key priority. I’m delighted to say we are well on track to meeting our five year target of 30,000 new homes by 2016.

“The figures for the first quarter to the end of March 2015 are positive and we will work with partners to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by next year.

“In addition, we will continue to work closely with the housing sector to support the construction of new homes across all tenures, supporting jobs in the construction industry and wider economy, and helping to strengthen communities, promote social justice and tackle inequality.”

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “It is good news that more houses are being built across Scotland and that the Scottish Government is ahead of its targets.

“However, the completion of 4,221 new socially rented homes in the last year is still far below the number needed to meet demand.

“With 150,500 households on council waiting lists for a home of their own, 10,000 new homes for social rent are needed each year if we are to meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.”

Homes for Scotland said the hugely successful Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme is the catalyst behind the increase in private sector home building.

The trade body also pointed to a 22 per cent rise in the number of new homes built since 2012, the year before the scheme was introduced.

Chief executive Philip Hogg said: “Having already resulted in 5000 sales and now proven to have significantly increased housing production, the impact of Help to Buy (Scotland) is obvious for all to see.

“Not only has it stimulated the building of much needed new housing and helped people meet their aspirations to own their own home, it has also channelled investment to Scotland, supporting vital jobs and boosting the wider economy.

“Disappointingly, however, with demand resulting in early closure of the main scheme  just last week and no announcement on further support forthcoming from the Scottish Government, we now seem to be at risk of letting the opportunity to build on its success pass us by rather than capitalising on the wide-ranging social and economic benefits it has to offer.

“There is still a long way to go in addressing our country’s housing crisis but in order to harness the potential that Help to Buy (Scotland) has already demonstrated and maintain this momentum, we hope the Scottish Government acts on this clear evidence of success and provides an early signal on its intentions for a successor scheme from April 2016.”

Ed Monaghan, chief executive of Mactaggart & Mickel Group called for further action to maintain the upward trajectory.

He said: “The statistics released by the Scottish Government today showing a continued rise in new build completions are welcome news for the industry and can be attributed to the increasing investment from the private sector. This boost in consumer confidence can be linked to initiatives that stimulate the market such as Help to Buy (Scotland).

“This rare housing policy success has not only helped those in most need, it has also driven the industry on an upward trajectory. However now that the H2B scheme has come to an end in Scotland, more needs to be done to ensure the industry continues to prosper.  It’s important that we continue to encourage growth in the construction industry by offering housebuilder led assistance initiatives, boosting skilled employment and also through partnership working on innovative programmes in which the public sector has a vital role to play.”

Key Points:

New build housing

All Sectors

There were 4,210 new build homes completed between October and December 2014; 1 per cent up on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 15,541, up 4 per cent (657 homes) compared to the 14,884 completed in the previous year.

There were 4,159 new build homes started between October and December 2014; 26 per cent up the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 16,486 which is up by 15 per cent (2,157 homes) compared to the 14,329 homes started in the previous year.

Private Sector

Between October and December 2014, 3,327 private sector led homes were completed; 8 per cent up on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 12,188 – up by 16 per cent (1,707 homes) on the 10,481 completions in the previous year.

There were 3,311 private sector led starts between October and December 2014, 34 per cent up on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 12,699, 19 per cent (2,019 homes) higher than the 10,680 starts in the previous year

Social Housing (Housing Association and Local Authority combined)

There were 883 social housing completions between October and December 2014; 17 per cent down on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 3,353. This is a decrease of 24 per cent on the 4,403 completions the previous year.

Meanwhile 848 social sector homes were started between October and December 2014; 4 per cent up on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the 12 months to end December 2014 to 3,787 which is 4 per cent more than the 3,649 started in the previous year.

More up-to-date figures show that, in January to March 2015, 1,677 social sector homes were completed (more than double the 809 completions in the same quarter in 2014), and 1,756 were started (up by 2 per cent on the same quarter in 2014).

Housing Association Homes

There were 614 housing association completions between October and December 2014; 22 per cent down on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 2,386. This is a 25 per cent (790 homes) decrease on the 3,176 completions the previous year

There were 510 housing association approvals between October and December 2014; 5 per cent down on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 2,573. This is a 4 per cent (91 homes) increase on the 2,482 approvals in the previous year.

More up-to-date figures show that, in January to March 2015, 1,334 housing association homes were completed (more than double the 656 completions in the same quarter in 2014), and 1,597 were approved (up by 4 per cent on the same quarter in 2014).

Local Authority Homes

There were 269 local authority completions between October and December 2014; 5 per cent down on the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 967. This is a 21 per cent (260 homes) decrease on the 1,227 completions the previous year.

There were 338 local authority starts between October and December 2014; 22 per cent higher than the number in the same quarter in 2013. This brings the total for the year to end December 2014 to 1,214. This is a 4 per cent (47 homes) increase on the 1,167 starts in the previous year.

More up-to-date figures show that, in January to March 2015, 343 local authority houses were completed (more than double the 153 completions in the same quarter in 2014), and 159 were started (down by 12 per cent on the same quarter in 2014).

Affordable Housing Completions

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 build.

The latest information for the financial year 2014/15 shows that affordable housing completions have totalled 7,069 for the financial year, up 1 per cent on the previous year. This includes a small increase in social rent (up by 0.2 per cent or 8 homes), an increase in affordable rent (up by 17 per cent or 160 homes) and a decrease in affordable home ownership (down by 6 per cent or 111 homes). Total starts are up 11 per cent on the previous year to 6,641, while approvals are down 12 per cent on the previous year to 6,297.

A total of 26,972 affordable homes have been completed in the 4 years from 2011-12 as part of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, including 18,670 homes for social rent.

Right to Buy Applications and Sales

Following the announcement of the end of Right to Buy in July 2013 the number of applications and the number of sales both increased. The most recent figures available are for October to December 2014. During this period there were 625 Right to Buy applications (3 per cent lower than in the same quarter the previous year, but 36 per cent higher than in the same quarter in 2012) and 474 sales (53 per cent higher than in the same quarter in the previous year, and 60 per cent higher than in the same quarter in 2012).

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