Housing completion figures welcomed – but ‘no room for complacency’

Jane Wood

HOMES For Scotland (HFS) has welcomed a rise in the number of new homes completed – but expressed ‘concern’ over affordable housing approvals.

The trade body was responding to new stats showing a 26% increase in the total number of new homes completed in the year to end September 2021 compared to the previous 12 months – during which activity was impacted by Covid.

With completions reaching 20,056, helping the Scottish Government to achieve its 50,000 affordable homes target, HFS called it a ‘step in the right direction’.

HFS chief executive Jane Wood said, “Ensuring we have the homes that all those living in Scotland require to meet housing need and aspiration is essential to our country’s social wellbeing and economic success so the increase in completions across all tenures that has been announced today is clearly very welcome.  However, there is still a very long way to go.  Figures are still significantly down on activity levels pre-Covid and twenty per cent below what we believe is required each year so there is no room for complacency – particularly given the very difficult circumstances currently facing home builders in terms of labour and material shortages and the significant cost pressures that result, affecting both public and private sectors.”

Jane Wood highlighted the 44% drop in housing association approvals, adding, “Unfortunately, this is consistent with member feedback and demonstrates the importance of having effective, timely data to support policy-making and the wider economy of Scotland.  Urgent action must be taken to arrest this decline otherwise we will see ever decreasing numbers of affordable homes coming through the pipeline.”