Scottish social housing stock increases by just 1,000 since 2007

Scottish social housing stock increases by just 1,000 since 2007

David Alexander

The total stock of social housing in Scotland has increased by just 1,000 in the last 13 years according to analysis of trend data by property firm DJ Alexander Ltd.

The firm has examined the official data and found that there was a total of 607,000 houses in the social housing sector in March 2007 and by March 2020 (the latest period for which there is data) there was 608,000.

Over this period social housing as a percentage of the total housing market fell from 25% to 23% as the overall stock numbers rose from 2,428,000 in March 2007 to 2,645,000 in March 2020.

During the 13-year period from 2007 to 2020 the number of properties in the private rented sector rose from 10.2% of the whole market to 14.9% by March 2020 while homeownership fell from 61.5% to 58.2%. The balance of properties was in the second home/vacant property sector which rose from 3.3% to 3.8%.

David Alexander, chief executive officer of DJ Alexander Scotland, commented: “These figures show that the housing problems Scotland currently face derive from supply failing to meet demand. As the social housing sector has been broadly static for this entire period the private rented sector has stepped in and expanded by 59.9% to fill the growing demand from renters.”

“We have a Scottish government which has been happy for the private rented sector to cover for the lack of investment in social housing for the last 13 years but now seeks to limit the incomes of landlords and property investors through the introduction of rent controls.”

“Rather than address the real issue - which is a failure to invest adequately in social housing over a substantial period of time – the Scottish Government now wishes the private rented sector to pay for its inability to meet the housing demands of the people of this country.”

“With demand for housing growing each year it is essential that all parts of the housing market are encouraged to grow. Scapegoating the private rented sector for rising rents just won’t cut it when the Scottish Government has failed to adequately supply social housing for 13 years. The private rented sector has grown to meet demand and has been happy to provide this service which otherwise would have resulted in insufficient homes for workers from Scotland and elsewhere.”

He concluded: “Adequate housing supply provided by all sectors is essential to ensure that Scotland is a welcoming, growing economy and yet we see the Scottish Government not doing the hard job of supplying enough homes and instead blaming a sector it has encouraged over the last 13 years. It simply will not wash and there now needs to be a broad based, inclusive strategy for housing which builds more social housing, encourages more investment in the private rented sector, and the building of more houses for homeowners. Otherwise, I fear a growing housing crisis developing in the future.”

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