Scotland’s home building industry has highlighted the need for at least 100,000 homes of all tenures by the end of the next Scottish Parliament in order to tackle the nation’s housing crisis.
Referring to the 50,000 and 60,000 affordable housing targets recently announced by the SNP and Labour respectively, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland Philip Hogg called on politicians of all parties to paint a complete picture of Scotland’s housing requirements. He said, “In order to make our country a better place in which to live, work and invest, it’s essential that we have enough homes of the right types in the right locations to meet the diverse housing needs and aspirations of our growing population. This is fundamental to achieving the fairer society we all want to see.
“But a continuing focus on publicly subsidised affordable housing targets tells just one part of the story. What about the majority of Scots who still want to own their own home or those who want the flexibility of renting in the private sector? The fact is that the total number of new homes being built remains 40 per cent down on 2007 levels, exacerbating the housing pressures which particularly affect our young people and growing families.
“Providing more affordable housing is obviously a key part of addressing the overall chronic undersupply of homes. However, this can only be achieved through an all-tenure approach, particularly given the major direct contribution the private sector makes to affordable housing. Quite simply, we need our politicians to get housing sorted so the people of Scotland have the homes that they need, whatever the tenure type.
“This is why we are calling on the next Scottish Government to manage a return to at least pre-recession levels of building which would mean at least 100,000 new homes by the end of the next parliamentary term based on an annual average growth rate of ten per cent. We believe this is an ambitious but achievable target and have set out in our manifesto the action which needs to be taken to make it happen.”
The benefits of significantly increasing the number of new homes being built are reinforced in a new research report. As well as highlighting positive social impacts, including improving health and education outcomes and fighting fuel poverty, the report also shows that the 15,562 homes built last year supported over 63,000 jobs (equating to over four jobs per home) and generated some £3.2 billion in Gross Value Added. It also projects the potential annual uplift if build rates are increased to c25,000 pre-recession levels.
Nicola Woodward of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, the consultants undertaking the research, said, “The need to increase the supply of housing is rising up the Scottish political agenda and our analysis shows that if home building can return to pre-recession delivery rates it will produce some major economic benefits, including an additional £443m of capital expenditure, £1.9 billion extra economic output and almost 38,400 extra jobs.
“These positives are on top of the structural economic benefits that will arise from Scotland having a housing market that meets the needs of its population, improves macro-economic stability, supports the labour market and facilitates the development of sustainable communities that are vital to economic prosperity.
“Scotland must deliver more new homes in order to help secure a prosperous economic future and given the scale of the economic benefits at stake, it is critical that the issues currently constraining supply are resolved.”