Industry demands change

Housebuilders ‘need more help’ to meet homes shortfall

Nicola Barclay HFS conf

Nicola Barclay: ‘misconceptions’


More homes need to be built on small sites to help bridge an 80,000 shortfall across Scotland, according to the industry’s trade body.

Homes for Scotland says there has been a near 40% drop in the number of companies building fewer than 50 homes a year and who traditionally focused on smaller plots.

It will tell MSPs today that action needs to be taken to significantly boost the number of smaller home builders in operation. It wants easier access to development finance, simplified planning processes, and more cooperation from regulators and policymakers.

It also believes that “myths’ surrounding landbanking by housebuilders “must be busted” in order to change perceptions that they are sitting on undeveloped sites.

Ms Barclay said: “Given the fact that some 80,000 fewer homes have been built in Scotland since 2008 whilst the growth in number of households over broadly the same period has more than doubled, it is easy to see why our country is in housing crisis and why many people struggle to find a home that is affordable and that meets their needs and aspirations.”

Ms Barclay also said misconceptions that many hold in relation to the new home building industry must be overcome.

“Home building is a complex, costly and lengthy business around which some fundamental misunderstandings have grown such as the common accusation that companies deliberately hold back land to inflate house prices. 

“As many studies have shown, most recently last year’s Letwin Review, there is absolutely no evidence of this: it simply doesn’t make any business sense in terms of cash flow and return on investment for builders to hold on to land they could put houses on and sell.  

“What builders do need, however, is a strategic pipeline of land to inform their investment, employment and training decisions.  If we are to build the homes we need, we must move beyond this red herring and examine the real issues delaying housing delivery.”

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