Government reaches 70,000 affordable homes milestone despite decline in completions



construction stockThe Scottish Government has hailed new figures which revealed more than 70,000 affordable homes have been built in Scotland over the last 10 years, though opponents have questioned whether the pace of social housing completions is enough to meet current targets.

Quarterly Housing Statistics released yesterday show that since 2007, a total of 48,813 homes for social rent have been delivered, including 8,819 council homes, as well as 4,936 for affordable rent and 17,112 for affordable home ownership.

The statistics also show there were 19,598 new build homes started across all sectors for the year ending June 2017- 2,188 homes or 13% more than the previous year.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart visited a Dunedin Canmore affordable housing development in Edinburgh to meet tenants and mark the completion of the 70,000th affordable home.

Mr Stewart said: “Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to this Government’s drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

“We are determined to accelerate housing supply for communities across Scotland and I am delighted to announce more than 70,000 affordable homes have been delivered to date, including 48,813 homes for social rent.

“I am confident that we will continue to increase affordable housing across Scotland with our ambitious target to deliver 50,000 homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, backed by £3 billion of investment.”

Scottish Labour has argued that the target to deliver 50,000 homes during this Parliament, which includes the provision of 35,000 social homes, is under threat because the number of social housing completions has “plummeted”.

Between July and September 2017, just 725 social homes were completed, 20% fewer than the same quarter in 2016, the party said.

Figures for the last quarter bring the total completions for the 12 months to the end of September 2017 to only 3,530, which represents a 9% decline on the equivalent figures for 2016.

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesperson, Pauline McNeill, said: “These are desperately poor house building figures from the SNP government.

“After a decade in power, the Nationalists have turned a housing shortage into a housing crisis, and these figures suggest the problem will only continue to get worse.

“Labour has previously revealed that the SNP government would need to seriously step up the levels of house buildings to meet their targets by 2021. Today’s statistics all but confirm those targets will be missed.

“The SNP government must come forward and explain what action they are going to take to redress this as a matter of urgency, but the sad truth is even the target the SNP government is missing isn’t enough to deal with the crisis.

“A Scottish Labour government would build 60,000 homes, the majority of which would be social housing, by the end of the Parliament as part our plan to create a country that works for the many, not the few.”

Scottish Conservative housing spokesman, Graham Simpson, called for “radical action” to solve the decline.

He said: “The SNP Government has presided over a crisis in housing and it is only getting worse.

“With fewer houses being built, fewer people have any reasonable access to owning their own home and gaining all the benefits this brings to their families and finances.

“The Scottish Conservatives have already suggested innovative policies that would tackle this decline and help everyone own their own home.

“We are committed to delivering 100,000 new homes over the course of this parliament – with half of them affordable housing.

“We are dedicated to working with all stakeholders to make this commitment a reality.

“As the Finance Minister finishes his budget preparations he must consider more radical action. This is a housing crisis that the SNP has created and must solve.”

The Scottish division of partnership housing provider Lovell is predicting a significant step-up in the number of new homes it is able to deliver in Scotland during 2018. It predicts 90% of its new build output will continue to be homes for social rent.

Regional managing director for Scotland, Stephen Profili, said: “Lovell has seen good progress in Scotland during 2017 and there are good signs of substantial levels of investment going in to help make the Scottish Government’s five-year 50,000 new affordable homes target a reality. Looking ahead to 2018, Lovell expects to be in a position to increase significantly our delivery of new homes.

“Current projections are that Lovell will deliver in the region of 600 units across 12 project sites in Scotland in the course of next year, a significant increase on our 2017 output. More than 90% of these new homes will be for social rent with the remainder being for open market sale, making an important contribution to the Scottish Government’s affordable housing target.”

Quarterly Housing Statistics – Key Points

New Build Housing – All Sectors

  • There were 4,503 new build homes completed between April and June 2017; a 1% increase (49 homes) on the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 17,178, down 1% (186 homes) compared to the 17,364 completed in the previous year.
  • There were 4,560 new build homes started between April and June 2017; 10% more than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 19,598 which is up by 13% (2,188 homes) compared to the 17,410 homes started in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Private-led Housing

  • Between April and June 2017, 3,684 private sector led homes were completed; 7% more (232 homes) than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 13,470, which is 59 homes (0.4%) more than the 13,411 completions in the previous year.
  • There were 3,972 private sector led starts between April and June 2017, up 15% on the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year ending June 2017 to 13,364, which is 5% (668 homes) more than the 12,696 starts in the previous year.

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

  • There were 819 social housing completions between April and June 2017; 18% less than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 3,708. This is a 6% decrease on the 3,953 social sector completions in the previous year.
  • Meanwhile, 588 social sector homes were started between April and June 2017; 15% less than the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 6,234. This is a 32% increase on the 4,714 social sector starts in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that, between July and September 2017, 725 social sector homes were completed (20% fewer than the 903 completions in the same quarter in 2016), and 935 were started (29% less than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end September 2017 to 3,530 (a 9% decrease on the 3,871 social sector homes completed in the previous year). Total starts over the 12 months to end September 2017 are now at 5,849 (14% more than the 5,142 started in the previous year).

New Build Housing – Housing Association Homes

  • There were 462 housing association completions between April and June 2017, 38% less than the 746 completions in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 2,464, a 12% (339 homes) decrease on the 2,803 completions over the previous year.
  • There were 426 housing association approvals between April and June 2017; 21% more than the 351 approvals in the same quarter in the previous year. This brings the total for the year to end June 2017 to 5,020. This is an increase of 63% (1,942 homes) on the 3,078 approvals in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that a total of 386 Housing Association homes were completed between July and September 2017, 43% less completions than in the same period in the previous year (681 homes). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end September 2017 to 2,169, which is a decrease of 19% on the 2,694 homes completed in the previous year. A total of 540 Housing Association homes were approved between July and September 2017, 34% less than the 817 approvals in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total approvals for the 12 months to end September 2017 to 4,743, a 33% increase on the 3,563 approvals in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Local Authority Homes

  • There were 357 local authority completions between April and June 2017, which is 39% more than the number that were completed in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year ending June 2017 to 1,244. This is a 8% (94 homes) increase on the 1,150 completions the previous year.
  • There were 162 local authority starts between April and June 2017; 53% lower than the number in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for year ending June 2017 to 1,214. This is a 26% (422 homes) decrease on the 1,636 starts in the previous year.
  • More up-to-date figures show that, between July and September 2017, 339 local authority houses were completed (53% more homes than the same quarter in the previous year), and 395 were started (21% fewer homes than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the year to end September 2017 to 1,361, which is 16% more than the previous year. Total starts for the 12 months to end September 2017 now stands at 1,106 which is a decrease of 30% on the 1,579 local authority homes started in the previous year.

Affordable Housing Supply – up to end September 2017

  • 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 September 2017 show that affordable housing supply completions have totalled 6,795, down 1% (82 homes) on the previous year. This includes an increase in affordable rent completions (up by 7% or 59 homes), but decreases in social rent completions (down by 2% or 91 homes) and affordable home ownership completions (down by 3% or 50 homes).
  • There were 9,928 affordable housing approvals over the year up to end September 2017, up by 12% or 1,031 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in social rent approvals (up by 15% or 831 homes), affordable rent approvals (up by 19% or 242 homes), with a decrease in affordable home ownership approvals (down by 2% or 42 homes).
  • There were 9,287 affordable houses started in the year to end September 2017, up by 8% or 726 homes compared to the previous year. This includes increases in social rent starts (up by 5% or 304 homes), and affordable rent starts (up by 71% or 626 homes), with a decrease in affordable home ownership starts (down 10% or 204 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.

Local Authority Right to Buy Applications and Sales

  • The Right to Buy scheme closed to all new applicants on 31 July 2016, therefore there were no Right to Buy applications made during the latest quarter April to June 2017.
  • It can take a period of time for applications to be processed and for sales to be made, and therefore Right to Buy sales are still being recorded. In the latest available quarter, April to June 2017, there were 787 Right to Buy sales, 56% more than the 506 sales in the same quarter in the previous year, however this was 19% less than the 971 sales in the previous quarter January to March 2017. This drop in sales compared to the previous quarter suggests that the recent increase in sales may have now peaked, and may begin to fall further in future quarters as the number of applications remaining in the system falls.

Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes

  • The total number of long term empty properties and second homes has increased in the latest year by 930 properties (2%) from 61,865 in September 2016 to 62,795 in September 2017. However the figure as at September 2017 is 3,258 homes (5%) lower than the 66,053 properties recorded as at September 2012.

The summary report on the recently released Scottish Household Survey local authority level housing tables for the year 2016 includes the following key points:

  • Housing tenure in 2016 varied by local authority area, with owner occupation rates ranging from 44% in Dundee and 47% in Glasgow, up to 81% in East Dunbartonshire and 82% in East Renfrewshire.
  • City authorities generally had higher rates of private rented sector properties, where this type of property accounted for 19% of households in Glasgow, 20% in Aberdeen City, 22% in Dundee City, and 26% in City of Edinburgh.
  • Around 81% of households across Scotland would most like to live in the owner occupier sector in 2016, and this varied from 94% in East Renfrewshire and 92% in Na h-Eileanan Siar, East Renfrewshire and East Lothian, to 67% in Glasgow City and Dundee City.
  • Around 19% of households in Glasgow City would most like to live in a housing association property, whilst 16% of households in North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire would most like to live in council rented properties.