HFS highlights ‘significant’ regional variations in housing starts and completions

Significant variations in housing starts and completions exist across regions and tenures in Scotland while major applications are still taking more than twice as long as the statutory timeframe, according to new analysis.

Nicola Barclay

In its detailed scrutiny of official quarterly statistics, industry body Homes for Scotland (HFS) found geographic differences, with Strathclyde seeing a 55% increase in starts for Q2 2019 compared with a year earlier whilst the East Central and South East areas saw construction activity drop.

Across the country for the same period, social housing starts were down almost 10% and completions down 19%. Of particular note is the South East region, where affordability is a major issue but where the number of new social housing starts was down 82%.

Commenting on the findings in the same week as latest planning performance statistics show that major housing applications are still taking more than twice as long as the 16-week statutory timeframe, HFS chief executive, Nicola Barclay, said: “Reflecting exactly what our members are telling us, our analysis highlights the fragility of the housing sector. The planning performance statistics further demonstrate how far there is to go to ensure we have a system that facilitates rather than frustrates development.

“Ahead of the Scottish Budget on 6 February, both sets of figures underscore the importance of ongoing Scottish Government drive and determination to deliver more new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes of all tenures.

“There simply can be no room for complacency when it comes to building the range of homes required to meet the housing needs and aspirations of those living in Scotland.”