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4% rise in completions last year

More homes built, but not enough, says trade body

housebuildingA 4% rise in the number of homes built in Scotland last year has been described the industry as a “positive trend” but well short of demand.

More than 16,000 homes were built in the year to September 2015, according to official statistics figures released today.

All sectors have shown increases in completions. There was a 2% rise in private homes to 12,125 and a 10% uplift in housing association completions to 2,828. Local authority completions came to 1,051, 7% higher than the previous year.

Building work began on 17,360 homes, a 9% increase on the previous year, and mostly driven by a 10% increase in starts in the private sector, as well as a 6% increase in the social sector.

Scotland’s home building industry welcomed the figures, but cautioned that there is still a long way to go if the country is to see the numbers required to properly meet the diverse needs and aspirations of a growing population.

Nicola Barry 2Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland Nicola Barclay (right) pointed to the vital role that the Help to Buy shared equity scheme has to play in building on this momentum to deliver more homes and jobs.

She said: “With an all-tenure approach crucial to effectively tackling Scotland’s chronic undersupply of housing, these latest statistics indicating that all sectors have shown increases in completions over the last year are welcome.

“However, we are still some way off our manifesto call for 10% year-on-year growth to address the backlog of demand and there are a number of uncertainties in the market including the impact of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), the ongoing planning review and more restrictive criteria for Help to Buy going forward.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said:While we welcome the news of a rise in the number of homes completed – particularly those from housing associations and local authorities – it still falls well short of meeting the level of demand.

“Today in Scotland 150,000 families and individuals are on council waiting lists for a home. We hear every day from households who are desperate for a home of their own. Sadly, some have been waiting for years, with no end in sight.

“The Scottish Government is not yet delivering the number of homes needed to match demand for affordable housing and more must be done.

“To meaningfully tackle current and future demand for affordable housing the Scottish Government must embark on a major step-change in new house building, with a commitment to build at least 12,000 new affordable homes each year for the next five years.”

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