New homes on the rise as Scotland edges towards affordable housing target

Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

The number of new homes built in Scotland has risen by nine per cent in the last year, according to official figures.

Latest housing statistics from the Scottish Government have unveiled that the number of new homes completed across the private and social sector rose nine per cent to 16,281 between April 2014 and March 2015, compared to the same period in 2013-14.

In addition, the overall supply of housing, which covers new builds, refurbishments and conversions, increased six per cent to 17,149 in 2014-15 compared to the previous year.

The Scottish Government is also well on track to exceed its five-year target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by March 2016, as part of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

Figures to the end of June 2015, show that a total of 28,048 affordable homes have now been delivered –93 per cent of the 30,000 target - including 19,205 homes for social rent. This is 96 per cent of the 20,000 social rent target, and within that 4,956 council homes – 99 per cent of the council homes target.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Making sure everyone in Scotland has access to good-quality, affordable housing is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country. These figures support this commitment and show we are on track to exceed our five year target of delivering 30,000 new homes by 2016.

“This is a significant achievement. In spite of around a quarter in real terms cuts to our capital budget and an uphill battle to beat the recession, this Government has built more social and affordable houses in the last seven years than were delivered in the seven years prior to that.

“By targeting resources at making private sector homes more affordable, through schemes like Help to Buy (Scotland), we have seen the number of private sector completions rise significantly.

“We have boosted housing supply budgets by investing £1.7 billion in affordable housing over the lifetime of this Parliament. Our house building rates, per head, continue to outperform other parts of the UK.

“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.”

The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland said the rise in new homes is “encouraging” but is still 9,500 fewer than pre-recession levels.

Policy and practice officer, Ashley Campbell, said: “These latest figures show encouraging signs of recovery in the number of new homes being completed, including a record number delivered by local authorities over the last financial year. The Scottish Government has also committed itself to surpass its target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes over the current term of the Scottish Parliament, which is hugely welcome.

“At the same time, the number of new homes being completed by housing associations is 45 per cent lower than it was in 2009-10 when completions by that sector reached a peak of more than 5,500 units. Overall, we are building 9,500 fewer homes per year than we were prior to the recession. In the lead-up to next year’s Holyrood elections, we look forward to a stimulating debate with all parties about how we can deliver many more new homes to meet growing demand in Scotland in the years ahead, while recognising the considerable financial constraints we currently face.”

Housing Supply (Private and Public Sector):

  • New housing supply: New housing supply (new build, refurbishment and conversions) increased by 6 per cent between 2013-14 and 2014-15, from 16,110 to 17,149 units, mainly driven by an 11 per cent rise in private led new build completions.
  • New house building: In 2014-15, 16,281 new homes were completed in Scotland, an increase of 9 per cent on the 14,890 completions in the previous year, the highest number of completions since 2010-11. During the same time-period the number of homes started rose by 3 per cent from, 15,577 to 16,028, the highest number of starts since 2008-09.

    Affordable housing:(As previously reported on 2 June): In 2014-15, there were 7,069 units completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity - this figure is up 1 per cent on the previous year.

    Other key findings for the year to end March 2015 are:

    Local authority housing stock: At 31st March 2015, there were 317,005 local authority dwellings in Scotland, a decrease of 567 (0.2 per cent) homes from the previous year.

    Sales of local authority dwellings: Sales of public authority dwellings (including local authorities with total stock transfers) rose by 20 per cent in 2014-15, from 1,527 to 1,835. This is the second consecutive annual increase after years of declining numbers of sales. The increases are likely to be due to the announcement in 2013 that right to buy was to be ended for all tenants.

    Right to Buy entitlement: Just over two-thirds (67 per cent or 236,594) of tenancies provided by local authorities (or the relevant housing association following a stock transfer) had some Right to Buy entitlement on 31st March 2015, down from 76 per cent the previous year.

    Evictions: Eviction actions against local authority tenants resulted in 1,215 evictions or abandoned dwellings in 2014-15 (694 evictions, 521 abandoned dwellings). This is up by 32 per cent, or 294 evictions or abandonments, on the 921 in 2013-14.

    Housing Lists: Household applications held on local authority or common housing register lists decreased by 4 per cent to 173,587 in March 2015, the seventh consecutive annual decrease.

    Housing Statistics for Scotland 2015: Annual Key Trends Summary

    Housing Statistics for Scotland Quarterly Update

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