Latest housing stats paint “positive overall picture” says representative body

Nicola Barclay

TOTAL new housing supply in Scotland has risen in the past year, but there has been in a drop in private sector led homes completed, the latest Scottish Government housing statistics show.

Total new housing supply has increased 4% between 2016-17 and 2017-18, from 18,683 to 19,428 new homes.

New house building has risen to 17,731 in 2017-18, a 3% increase on the previous year’s figure of 17,293. This is the fifth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of completions since 2008-09. During the same time period there has been a 1% decrease in the number of homes started and housing association approvals fell 5%.

There has been a 16% drop in private sector led homes completed in Q1 of 2018, compared with the same quarter in 2017, bringing the total for the year to end March 2018 to 13,102, 2% less than the 13,427 completions in the previous year.

8,534 units were completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity in 2017-18, a 16% increase on the previous year. Approvals increased 14% to reach 11,677 and starts increased 1,2612 units to reach 10,569.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of representative body Homes for Scotland (HFS) commented on the statistics, “We are encouraged to note these latest statistics indicate a positive overall picture for affordable housing approvals as well as the wider sector. Whilst the extreme weather conditions earlier in the year made delivery challenging, it is essential that we are not complacent when it comes to our efforts to increase supply across all tenures.

“As well as enabling increased activity for smaller builders, sustained confidence from investors is essential to support growth from medium to larger builders within a competitive UK environment. It is also crucial that the labour market is geared up across the sector, with skills shortages already creating challenges on sites across Scotland.

“In addition to the about, the Planning (Scotland) Bill represents a key opportunity to recalibrate our planning system so it can deliver what the people of Scotland need; enough high-quality homes in the right places to meet need and demand. HFS is working hard to persuade politicians and communities that a good system is one in which we collaborate effectively in order that precious time, resource and funds can be channelled into the development of vibrant places and the delivery of more homes.”