Scottish housing statistics – quarterly update, September 2020

THERE were 22,386 new-build homes completed across all sectors in Scotland in the year to end December 2019, an increase of 11 per cent, or 2,291 homes, on the previous year, and the highest number of homes completed since 2007.

The figures have been released by the Scottish Government, as a quarterly update on its housing statistics.

Says the release: “There have been increases across private-led completions (nine per cent or 1,380 homes), housing association completions (14 per cent or 536 homes) and local authority completions (31 per cent or 375 homes).

“There were 23,672 new-build homes started across all sectors in Scotland in the year to end December 2019, an increase of 1,639 homes (seven per cent) on the previous year, and the highest number of homes started since 2008. 

“Private-led starts increased by 1,578 homes (ten per cent) and local authority starts increased by 445 homes (28 per cent), whilst housing association approvals decreased by 384 homes (seven per cent). The total number of homes started in the social sector across both housing associations and local authorities increased by 61 homes (one per cent).”

The release continues: “Levels of affordable housing supply activity in the most recent period up to the end of June 2020 have been impacted on by the introduction of measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from mid-March 2020 onwards, in which non-essential construction activity stopped, and home buyers were advised to delay moving to a new home where possible, until the lockdown restrictions began to ease towards the end of June 2020.

“This has lowered the total amount of activity recorded for the most recent two quarters, January to March 2020 and April to June 2020, compared to what would otherwise have been the case, with year to date totals to end June 2020 also being affected. The elements of the affordable housing programme relating to new build starts and completions activity are most likely to have been affected, with non-construction related activity such as approvals likely to have been affected to a slightly lesser degree.

“Due to these effects, only 197 affordable housing completions were recorded in the most recent quarter April to June 2020, a decrease of 84 per cent, or 1,058 homes, when compared to the equivalent quarter in the previous year. This brings the total for the year to end June 2020 to 8,228, down 11 per cent (1,055 homes) on the 9,283 completions in the previous year, but an increase of 17 per cent on the 7,021 homes delivered in the year to June 2016. 

“The number of affordable housing approvals and starts have also been affected by the lockdown measures, with 873 homes being approved and 791 homes being started in the latest quarterly period to end June 2020, levels which are 41 per cent and 64 per cent below equivalent quarterly levels in the previous year.”

And the release concludes: “Despite these drops in the latest quarter, the numbers of homes approved and started have both increased on an annual basis. In the year to end June 2020, 12,276 affordable homes were approved, an increase of 1,436 homes (13 per cent) on the previous year, and 51 per cent more (4,135 homes) than the year to end June 2016.

“Over the same period, there were 10,701 homes started, an increase of 186 homes (two per cent) on the previous year and 2,523 homes (31 per cent) more than the same period in 2016.”

Source: Scottish Government, Housing statistics, quarterly update, published September 29 2020.