THE number of newly-built homes in Scotland during the 12 months – April last year to March this year – was, at 23,512, its highest in 15 years.
But there was mixed news on the ‘affordable’ housing front, with a relatively high number of new-builds in the sector counter-balanced by a relatively low number of such properties ‘approved’ for the coming months.
According to the Scottish Government’s chief statistician, the near 24,000 ‘all-sector’ new-build homes completed during the year upto March represented an increase of nine per cent (1,897 homes) on the 21,615 completions during the previous year, and the highest annual figure to the end of March since 2008.
Increases were seen for private-led new build completions (ten per cent, or 1,491 homes) and housing association new-build completions (30 per cent, or 1,164 homes), whilst local authority new-build completions dropped by 28 per cent, or 758 homes.
Meanwhile, the number of new-build homes started across ‘all sectors’ decreased by two per cent (305 homes), with 19,204 starts in the year to end March 2023, down from 19,509 starts in the previous year, and 25 per cent (6,382 homes) below the 25,586 homes started in the pre-Covid-19 pandemic year to the end of March three years ago.
Says the Scottish Government, here: “Private-led new-build starts increased slightly by one per cent (105 homes) whilst housing association new-build approvals dropped by 11 per cent (305 homes) and local authority new-build starts decreased by five per cent (105 homes).
“Following recent progress with collecting private-led housebuilding data to a faster schedule from local authorities there is no longer a time lag of a quarter that existed in previous publications for the figures presented between private-led housebuilding and social sector figures, meaning that the publication now presents all sets of quarterly figures to the same latest time period, across social sector, private-led and ‘all-sector’ starts and completions.
“There were increases in the number of ‘affordable’ homes completed for ‘social rent’ by ten per cent (767 homes) and other ‘affordable’ rent by 20 per cent (250 homes); however, ‘affordable’ home ownership completions fell by 27 per cent (316 homes).
The announcement goes on to say: “Separate quarterly statistics on the Affordable Housing Supply programme show there were a total of 3,631 ‘affordable’ homes completed in the latest quarter, January to March [this year].
“This brings the total number of ‘affordable’ homes completed in the 12 months to end March 2023 to 10,458, an increase of seven per cent (701 homes) on the 9,757 homes completed in the previous year, and the highest annual completions figure since the start of the series in 2000.
“Meanwhile, there were 3,072 ‘affordable’ homes approved in the latest quarter January to March 2023, which brings the total number of ‘affordable’ homes approved in the 12 months to end March 2023 to 6,396, a decrease of 18 per cent (1,424 homes) on the 7,820 homes approved in the previous year, and the lowest annual figure to end March since 2015.
“There were decreases in the latest year in the number of approvals for ‘social rent’ (by 15 per cent, or 896 homes), other ‘affordable’ rent (by 30 per cent, or 278 homes), and ‘affordable’ home ownership (by 25 per cent, or 250 homes).
“There were 2,539 ‘affordable’ homes started in the latest quarter January to March 2023, which brings the total number of ‘affordable’ homes started in the 12 months to end March 2023 to 6,987, a decrease of 15 per cent (1,240 homes) on the 8,227 started in the previous year, and the lowest annual figure to end March since 2015.
“There were decreases in the latest year in the number of starts for ‘social rent’ (by 18 per cent, or 1,132 homes) and ‘affordable’ home ownership (by 27 per cent, or 289 homes), whilst starts for other ‘affordable’ rent increased by 25 per cent, or 181 homes.”
Continues the announcement: “Quarterly ‘affordable’ housing supply statistics are used to inform progress against Scottish Government ‘affordable’ housing delivery targets, in which the ambition is to deliver 110,000 ‘affordable’ homes by 2032, of which at least 70 per cent will be for social rent and ten per cent will be in remote, rural and island communities.
“There have been a total of 11,570 completions so far against the 110,000 target, across the period 23 March 2022 to 31 March 2023, consisting of 9,121 (79 per cent) homes for ‘social rent’, 1,548 (13 per cent) for other ‘affordable’ rent, and 901 (eight per cent) for ‘affordable’ home ownership.
“Figures on the remote, rural and island communities element of the target are planned to be reported on as part of future annual ‘affordable’ housing supply out-turn reports, although we are considering whether it is feasible for these figures to also be reported on in the statistical publication.”
Picture credit: Place Design Scotland
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