Fife Council announces £3m plan to ease housing shortage
Fife Council has allocated £3 million to purchase vacant properties in an attempt to increase its housing stock and reduce homelessness across the region.
The local authority said it is confident of achieving its target of buying 100 homes across Fife by March 2021 and has earmarked a further £3m to purchase 50 homes and make that a reality.
At last week’s policy and coordination committee, councillors heard plans to purchase two through to five-bedroom properties that come on to the market.
With the council suffering an enduring lack of housing to meet demand across Fife, the funding will be used to buy the properties at an average cost of £100,000.
Each purchase will receive a £40,000 subsidy from the Scottish Government, with a maximum of £10,000 per property also available for modernisation.
In a report to councillors, John Mills, head of housing, said: “Following the easing of lockdown and the early recovery period into phase three, the private housing market in Fife has been buoyant, reflecting pent-up demand from owners to sell and buy. The council has been well-placed to take advantage of the market conditions to make good early progress to the council’s current commitment of 50 properties.
“There has been a focus on high homeless pressure areas such as Glenrothes and Dunfermline to move homeless families from temporary accommodation into permanent accommodation.
“Subject to approval, a wider geographical approach would be adopted to find suitable properties to create transfer-led opportunities. This would include Kirkcaldy, Levenmouth and Cowdenbeath.”
Mr Mills urged that the purchases would be in addition to the council’s policy for affordable new housing and that he was “very confident” that the council’s target of 1,500 new affordable homes would be achieved by 2021.
The move was welcomed by committee members including Councillor Altany Craik, who also warned that the council be minded to seek best value and not accidentally influence the market by inflating house prices, The Courier reports.
Fellow councillor Neil Crooks said: “Everyone is acutely aware of how many families are out there need ing better accommodation and this policy will help meet that need.
“Housing need is massive across Fife, especially for three, four and five-bed properties, so this can only be a step in the right direction.”