Scotland’s housebuilders have welcomed official statistics showing a 4.8 per cent increase in the total number of housing completions in 2017 but highlighted the long road that lies ahead in tackling the country’s housing crisis as the figures equated to just 806 extra new homes on 2016.
Government statistics showed that there were 11,677 affordable homes approved in Scotland in 2017/18, 14% more than the previous year, and the third consecutive annual increase since 2014/15.
There were 4,344 new build homes completed between October and December 2017; a 7% decrease (313 homes) on the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 17,739, up 5% (806 homes) compared to the 16,933 completed in the previous year.
There were 4,483 new build homes started between October and December 2017, 3% more (151 homes) than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 19,702 which is up by 8% (1,388 homes) compared to the 18,314 homes started in the previous year.
Between October and December 2017, 3,352 private sector led homes were completed; 10% fewer (386 homes) than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 13,750 which is 5% more (714 homes) than the 13,036 completions in the previous year.
There were 3,247 private sector led starts between October and December 2017, up 1% (35 homes) on the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year ending December 2017 to 13,774, which is 4% (583 homes) more than the 13,191 starts in the previous year.
New Build Housing – Social Sector Housing (Housing Association and Local Authority combined) – up to end December 2017.
With the current undersupply of housing continuing to stymie the options of all generations, Chief Executive of representative body Homes for Scotland (HFS) Nicola Barclay said, “It’s good news that the figures for both new housing starts and completions are positive but a modest 806 extra homes demonstrates the scale of challenge facing us at a time when we need to rapidly increase supply.
“Our members, who deliver homes of all tenures, tell us that difficulties with the regulatory consents process means they simply can’t get diggers on site quickly enough to satisfy the need and demand that exists.”
HFS also pointed to regional disparities across the country through new data it was collating in relation to the geographies of its Local Home Builder Area Committees. This shows housing growth in 2017 was driven by the South East of Scotland (20.8%) and Highland & Moray (18.4%), whilst East Central Scotland fell by 16.2%.
Barclay said, “It is vital Local Authorities and our member companies work together to ensure local areas get the homes they need to sustain their communities and economies.”