Affordable homes drawn into new housing battle
Affordable homes have been completed at the highest level since 2000, according to quarterly statistics from the Scottish Government, though the number of starts has fallen sharply.
Almost 11,000 affordable homes were delivered in the year to the end of June as ministers aim for a target of delivering 110,000 by 2032, with 70% of these for social rent and 10% in rural and island communities.
Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “I am pleased that the number of affordable homes completed in the latest year is the highest annual figure since 2000, supporting almost 11,000 households to have an affordable place to live.
“Despite the challenges, since 2007, Scotland has seen over 40% more affordable homes delivered per head of population than in England, and over 70% more than in Wales.
“We have already delivered 13,354 homes towards our next target of 110,000 affordable homes in Scotland by 2032.”
However, the data reveals the number of completions has been offset by a continuing downward trend in the number of new starts.
Scottish Government figures report a 12% fall in new home starts in the year to end June, offsetting a 6.3% increase in completions for the same period and further compounding the 17% decrease in starts in year to end June 2022.
Jane Wood, chief executive of sector body Homes for Scotland (HFS), said: “Our concerns regarding the downward trend in starts is not abating, with the 12% decrease year end to June 2023 evidencing the ongoing challenges and blockers facing our members in delivering the homes of all tenures that our country so badly needs.
“The sustained increase in completions is welcomed (rising 9% in 2022 and 6.3% in 2023) and clearly demonstrates both the high demand for new homes as well as the capacity of the home building sector to deliver more across the country.
“However, unless the challenges surrounding land availability and wider consents process are addressed, the number of completions in future years are likely to decrease.
“With every new home built in Scotland supporting 3.5 jobs but the number of major residential planning applications having fallen dramatically, it is crucial that we maintain the momentum in housing delivery to ensure future employment and investment opportunities are realised across both private and social sectors.
“Our board recently discussed the current challenges facing the home building sector, as well as the social and economic benefits that come from increased housing delivery, directly with Housing Minister Paul McLennan MSP at its meeting last week and we remain committed to working with the Scottish Government to achieve this.”