Large affordable homes increases put government on track to hit target by 2021



The Scottish Government is on track to hit its ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 after new figures revealed a large increase in the total number of affordable and social rented homes.

Official statistics published on Tuesday show there were more than 9,500 affordable homes delivered in 2018-19, an increase of 12% on the previous year.

As part of this rise, completions of social rented homes accounted for 6,573 of the properties, 25% more than the previous year.

The statistics also show a record 15% increase (or 2,669 homes) in the number of new build homes completed across all sectors, which reached more than 20,000 for the first time in ten years.

The 15% increase in all sector new build completions in the 12 months to the end of December 2018 included increases in housing association completions (54% or 1,334 homes) and private sector completions (11% or 1,491 homes), whilst local authority completions fell by 156 homes (11%). The total number of social sector completions (housing association and local authority starts combined) increased by 1,178 homes (30%).

This rise is reflected in the Registers of Scotland property market report, also published on Tuesday, which shows that 12% of all residential property sales in the last year were new builds - the highest proportion since 2008-09.

Elsewhere there were 22,258 all sector new build starts in the 12 months to the end of December 2018, an increase of 2,621 homes (13%) on the 19,637 starts in the previous year, and the highest annual starts figure since 2007. Private-led starts increased by 1,277 homes (9%), housing association approvals increased by 1,038 homes (23%), and local authority starts increased by 306 homes (22%). The total number of social sector starts (housing association and local authority starts combined) increased by 1,344 homes (23%).

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Everyone in Scotland deserves a safe, warm place to live, and I’m delighted that since 2007 we have delivered a total of 86,109 affordable homes including 59,131 homes for social rent.

“We are also firmly on track to deliver our target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by investment of £3.3 billion. The statistics highlight more than half the homes are now completed with approvals well on course.

“Providing more affordable homes is a crucial part of this government’s aim to create a fairer Scotland, and improve communities through inclusive growth.

“On my visits across the country, I have seen the real difference these new developments have made to people’s lives. A home is more than just bricks and mortar – it’s about a sense of identity and belonging.

“It is also great to see a rise in the number of new homes across all sectors providing choice across all tenures.”

The news has been warmly welcomed by Homes for Scotland which said the increase should creates a solid foundation for delivering even more homes.

The industry body’s chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “With previous years’ completions falling well short of our call for a ten% year-on-year increase in output, we firmly agree with the Minister’s sentiments that it is great to see this rise in the number of new homes, providing choice across all tenures for the residents of Scotland.

“80,000 fewer homes than needed have been built in Scotland since the economic crash which has contributed to the chronic undersupply of housing our country faces.

“We must now build on this solid foundation to ensure that our industry can continue to increase the supply of new homes our growing population needs.

“Ensuring we have a supportive planning system is absolutely fundamental to achieving this.  So, as we prepare to enter Stage 3 of the Planning Bill, it is imperative that all of our elected politicians consider the proposed amendments from a housing delivery perspective, asking themselves whether each will help or hinder the building of new homes for their constituents.”

Key Points

New Build Housing – All Sectors

  • There were 5,553 new build homes completed between October and December 2018; a 32% increase (1,361 homes) on the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end December 2018 to 20,255, up 15% (2,669 homes) compared to the 17,586 completed in the previous year, and the first time since 2008 that annual completions have totalled over 20,000 homes.
  • There were 6,652 new build homes started between October 2018 and December 2018, 49% more (2,199 homes) than the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end December 2018 to 22,258 which is up 13% (2,621 homes) compared to the 19,637 homes started in the previous year, and is the highest annual starts figure since 2007.

New Build Housing – Private-led Housing

  • Between October 2018 and December 2018, 4,551 private sector led homes were completed; 41% more (1,328 homes) than the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end December 2018 to 15,152 which is 11% more (1,491 homes) than the 13,661 completions in the previous year, and is the first time in the last decade that annual completions have totalled over 15,000 homes.
  • There were 4,868 private sector led starts between October 2018 and December 2018, 51% more (1,651 homes) than the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year ending December 2018 to 14,997 which is 9% more (1,277 homes) than the 13,720 starts in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Social Sector Housing (Housing Association and Local Authority combined)

  • There were 1,002 social sector completions between October 2018 and December 2018; 3% (33 homes) more than the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end December 2018 to 5,103. This is a 30% increase on the 3,925 social sector completions in the previous year.
  • Meanwhile, 1,784 social sector homes were started between October 2018 and December 2018; 44% (548 homes) more than in the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end December 2018 to 7,261. This is a 23% increase on the 5,917 social sector starts in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that, between January and March 2019, 2,174 social sector homes were completed (28% more than the 1,695 completions in the same quarter in 2018), and 2,837 were started (16% less than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end March 2019 to 5,582 (a 22% increase on the 4,594 social sector homes completed in the previous year). Total starts over the 12 months to end March 2019 are now at 6,727 (11% more than the 6,084 started in the previous year).

New Build Housing – Housing Association Homes

  • There were 769 Housing Association completions between October 2018 and December 2018, 41% (225 homes) more completions than in the same period in the previous year. This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end December 2018 to 3,823, which is an increase of 54% on the 2,489 homes completed in the previous year.
  • There were 1300 housing association approvals between October 2018 and December 2018; 83% (590 homes) more than the 710 approvals in the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total approvals for the 12 months to end December 2018 to 5,592, a 23% increase on the 4,554 approvals in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that a total of 1,728 Housing Association homes were completed between January and March 2019, 25% (346 homes) more completions than in the same period in the previous year. This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end March 2019 to 4,169, which is an increase of 33% on the 3,130 homes completed in the previous year. A total of 2,319 Housing Association homes were approved between January and March 2019, 25% less homes than the 3,073 approvals in the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total approvals for the 12 months to end March 2019 to 4,838, a 3% increase on the 4,710 approvals in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Local Authority Homes

  • There were 233 local authority completions between October and December 2018, which is 45% (192 homes) less than the number that were completed in the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for year ending December 2018 to 1,280. This is a 11% (156 homes) decrease on the 1,436 completions in the previous year.
  • There were 484 local authority starts between October and December 2018; 8% less (42 homes) than in the same quarter in the previous year. This brings the total for year ending December 2018 to 1,669. This is a 22% (306 homes) increase on the 1,363 starts in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that, January and March 2019, 446 local authority houses were completed (42% more than the same quarter in the previous year), and 518 were started (74% more than in the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the year to end March 2019 to 1,413, which is 3% less than the previous year. Total starts for the 12 months to end March 2019 now stands at 1,889 which is an increase of 37% on the 1,374 local authority homes started in the previous year.

Affordable Housing Supply – up to end March 2019

  • Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) statistics reflect the broader supply of affordable homes (i.e. for social rent, affordable rent and affordable home ownership) and include off-the-shelf purchases and rehabilitations as well as new builds.
  • The latest statistics for the year to end March 2019 show that affordable housing supply completions have totalled to 9,535, up 12% on the 8,534 completions in the previous year. This includes increases in social rent completions (up by 25% or 1307 homes) and decreases in affordable rent completions (down by 17% or 194 homes) and affordable home ownership completions (down by 5% or 112 homes).
  • There were 11,130 affordable housing approvals over the year up to end March 2019, down 5% or 547 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in social rent approvals (up by 12% or 792 homes) and affordable home ownership approvals (up by 9% or 194 homes) and decreases in affordable rent approvals (down by 55% or 1,533 homes) .
  • There were 10,872 affordable houses started in the year to end March 2019, up by 3% or 303 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in in social rent starts (up by 3% or 194 homes), and affordable home ownership starts (up by 17% or 346 homes), but a decrease in affordable rent starts (down by 13% or 237 homes).
  • Quarterly affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016/17 to 2020/21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees.


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