Continued increase in number of Scottish households

National_Records_of_ScotlandThe number of households in Scotland has continued to increase, according to figures based on a publication released by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Estimates of Households and Dwellings in Scotland, 2014’, found that there were a record 2.42 million households in 2014, up 0.8 per cent since 2013 and an increase of around 169,000 households (7 per cent) over the last 10 years.

Almost all council areas saw an increase in household numbers between 2013 and 2014. However Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire and Eilean Siar saw slight reductions. The overall number of dwellings (including vacant properties and second homes) rose in all council areas in 2014 except West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde. Both of these areas had carried out demolitions as part of regeneration projects.

In Scotland as a whole, 2.9 per cent dwellings were vacant and 1.1 per were second homes, with the latter concentrated in more rural areas.

Tim Ellis, the chief executive of National Records of Scotland, said: “The number of households in Scotland grows every year. The rate of growth was increasing in the lead up to the economic downturn, but since then, it has fallen. Between 2001 and 2007, there was an average increase of 20,200 households per year. Between 2008 and 2014, the average increase was lower, at 14,400 per year.

“In 2014, for the second year in a row, the annual increase in the number of households appears to have grown. However, this is not just down to increases in house-building. Instead, there has been an apparent drop in the number of second homes and empty properties. This appears to be mainly because some empty properties and second homes have been reclassified, following recent Council Tax changes on empty properties.”

Graeme Brown
Graeme Brown

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “An increase in the number of households, as well as a growing and ageing population, will inevitably lead to increasing demands on vital services such as housing.

“In fact, this was a key concern raised by the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing who warned that as the number of households in Scotland grows, there will be further strain on vital services such as health, housing and education. The Commission called for a coordinated approach to housing alongside a major increase in house building.

“In Scotland there is already a shortage of affordable and socially-rented housing, with 150,500 households waiting for a home. The fact that the number of households in Scotland continues to rise will only heap further pressure on all Scottish politicians who for decades have failed to address the chronic shortage of affordable homes.

“Investment in housing is investment in people. That’s why we need to build 10,000 new homes for social rent each year if we are to meet demand and meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.”

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