Builders welcome new homes increase but call for future funding clarity

Nicola Barclay

TRADE body Homes for Scotland has welcomed news of an 18% rise in the total number of new build homes completed in Scotland – but has urged clarity over future funding intentions.

The figures, which cover the year ending June 2019, showed that 21,403 homes were completed in 2019, which is 3,210 more than in 2018. This is the highest level since 2008.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland said, “Today’s figures are very encouraging, but a deeper delve into the statistics reveals a 5% drop in completions between Q1 and Q2 2019, demonstrating the fragility that still exists across the housing market. This is currently being compounded by a lack of clarity over the Scottish Government’s future funding intentions for those building much needed new homes for both social rent and owner occupation.

“Whilst the delay to the UK budget has constrained the Scottish Government, it is nonetheless imperative that confirmation be provided as soon as possible if the housing growth we have seen is to continue. As well as ensuring that both buyers and builders north of the border are not disadvantaged in relation to the Help to Buy scheme (which is due to end here two years earlier than in England), it is critical that our Registered Social Landlord members receive certainty on grant funding levels post-2021. This will enable builders across the housing spectrum to plan their investment programmes accordingly to deliver more homes for Scotland.”

The increase in completed homes was seen in both the private sector and housing associations.

Scottish Government housing minister Kevin Stewart said, “These figures demonstrate how we are delivering more housing in Scotland. From private to social housing, it is encouraging that both new build starts and completions have increased this year, providing more people with a warm, safe place they can call home. The increase points to the strength of Scotland’s new build housing sector. We shall continue to push towards our ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.”