Scotland increased its new housing supply by just 1% in 2016-17. Nonetheless, 17,078 new homes were completed in Scotland, the fourth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of completions since 2009-10.
A total of 3,212 private sector homes were completed between January and March 2017, 5% (156 homes) more than in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the financial year total to 13,187, 1% down on 2015-16.
Meanwhile 2,575 private sector homes were started between January and March 2017, 8% (223 homes) less than in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for 2016-17 to 12,051, 9% less than in 2015-16.
In the social sector (local authorities and housing associations), 819 social sector homes were completed between April and June 2017 bringing the total for the year to end June 2017 to 3,708, 6% less than in the year to end June 2016.
During the same period, 588 homes were started between April and June 2017 bringing the total for the year to end June 2017 to 6,234, 32% more than in the year to end June 2016.
Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, said, “Given the chronic undersupply of housing in Scotland, any form of increase is obviously welcome but closer scrutiny of the figures shows serious systemic issues which appear to be being downplayed.
“The fact of the matter is that an additional 251 new homes doesn’t even begin to address the scale of Scotland’s housing crisis, and whilst affordable housing starts might be up, private sector numbers are down by nine per cent at their lowest level in three years. This is extremely worrying, not just in terms of its impact on the majority of Scots who aspire to own their homes but also in terms of the consequences for jobs, investment and economic growth.
“Unless there is a considered look at the big picture, the inter-dependences between sectors fully recognised and a whole system approach adopted, there must be serious doubt about the achievability of any party’s housing targets.
“The Housing Minister states that he stands ready to discuss solutions to stimulate private sector growth. These latest figures underline that now is the time for action if we are to safeguard our country’s social well-being and future prosperity.”