SCOTLAND has been urged to ‘match’ Westminster’s latest commitment to new housebuilding.
Property firm DJ Alexander Ltd, part of Lomond Group, said the UK Government’s commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s should be replicated north of the border.
The business said successive governments on both sides of the border have failed to address housing shortages for decades and an ‘immediate plan’ to increase stock levels in all sectors is required.
David Alexander, CEO of DJ Alexander Scotland, said, “There are serious problems with the housing market in Scotland which has had insufficient new stock being completed for decades. While some argue that lower levels of housebuilding simply reflect the quite small increases in the Scottish population this fails to recognise the changing social patterns which have exacerbated the problems over the years.
“Many more people live in single households, or couples, and there are much smaller family units. People are also living longer in their homes rather than transferring into care resulting in a much smaller number of homes coming to market each year.
“The inevitable consequence of this under production of new homes, the societal changes producing more people living alone, and the elderly living longer is that we have enormous demand with insufficient supply. This has resulted in booming property prices, shortages in the private and social rented sectors, and growing frustration that people cannot find or afford the home or area they wish to live in.
“If Scotland were to replicate the commitment by Westminster this would equate to around 29,100 new builds completed per year within the next three years. This will undoubtedly be a challenging task, but it is essential that we resolve Scotland’s housing problems because they will only get worse if we continue on the current trajectory.
“Given that the largest fall is in homes in the private sector it is essential that builders and developers are encouraged to increase the production of new homes across Scotland to ensure that demand will start to be met by the end of this decade. Equally the current level of social housing being completed is substantially below where it needs to be given that each house that becomes available has over a hundred tenants applying and the waiting list is over 130,000 people.
“Creating new homes has never been more essential is we are to create a Scotland that can grow and thrive in the coming decades, and it should be the priority of all governments across the UK.”