With the Chancellor announcing a raft of measures aimed at upping levels of housebuilding and “reviving the British dream of home ownership”, Scotland’s housebuilding industry vowed to continue to hold the Scottish government to account to ensure those living north of the border were not left behind.
Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland Nicola Barclay said, “The Chancellor correctly identifies that not only have successive governments, over decades, simply failed to build enough homes to enable people’s home ownership aspirations to be achieved, solving the housing challenge also requires money, planning reform and intervention.
“The case is similar in Scotland, where we also face the same barriers that have resulted in the number of new homes being built each year flatlining at levels still 36% below the pre-recession levels of 2007.
“If we are going to effectively tackle Scotland’s chronic undersupply of housing and address affordability, it is imperative that we have an all-tenure target that identifies the large number of homes that are required. This would focus all our minds on ensuring that the system is geared up to enable all parties to deliver the homes needed.
“With Homes for Scotland and its member companies standing ready to work with Ministers and officials to make this happen, we will be watching the Scottish Budget closely to ensure that any consequentials received from the housing announcements are similarly allocated, particularly in relation to unblocking the infrastructure constraints that impact those developers who are trying to build new communities.”
Barclay also considered the Chancellor’s review into the gap between planning permissions and housing starts, saying: “The main constraints on the use of land for housing are related to obtaining all of the necessary approvals and agreements, a process which is lengthy, complex and unpredictable. So, any action taken to address such blockers, or that identifies others, is positive.”
Fourth-generation Scottish family housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes have responded to the government’s announcement on stamp duty by following suit to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
From today, Mactaggart and Mickel Homes will pay the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBBT), the Scottish equivalent of stamp duty, for first-time buyers purchasing homes priced at up to £300,000 until the end of April 2018.
Director Joanne Casey said, “Although the Scottish budget won’t be revealed until mid-December, we have taken the decision to act immediately and pay the LBBT for first-time buyers on homes priced up to £300,000. This will help more first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder, by saving them up to £4,600 when buying a Mactaggart & Mickel home.”