Scottish government ‘needs challenge’ over increased affordable homes target

SFHA conference told the 3,000 more homes added to the SNP’s 50,000 target still falls 7,000 short on need identified in SFHA manifesto.

Building Site 08

The SFHA has been urged to challenge the Scottish government over affordable housebuilding targets – despite the SNP raising the intended number to 53,000 by 2020/2021.

With the SFHA conference underway, new statistics show 11,677 affordable homes approved in Scotland over 2017/18 – 14% more than the previous year and the third consecutive annual increase since 2014/15.

At its own conference, the SNP was told another 3,000 homes would be added to the Scottish government’s 50,000 affordable home target – which includes 35,000 homes for social rent – from 2016/17-2020/21.

At SFHA, Cllr Peter Barrett,  Scottish Liberal Democrat councillor for Perth City Centre, asked if the federation was willing to challenge the government on its targets.

“The 53,000 is 7,000 less than in the SFHA manifesto, are you shouting loud enough,” he said.

New statistics show 11,677 affordable homes approved in Scotland over 2017/18 – 14% more than the previous year and the third consecutive annual increase since 2014/15.

The range of official stats released offers a regularly updated progress report on affordable housing in Scotland, where the Scottish government has a target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, from 2016/17-2020/21.

But Scottish shadow housing minister Graham Simpson told SFHA: “If we don’t maintain the homes we have already got, we won’t achieve our goals”

Glasgow Green councillor Christy Means said land needed to be as affordable as planned homes and raised the prospect of RSLs working more effectively with councils to bring empty homes back into use.

The extent of the housing crisis in Scotland demanded more solutions” than just the 53,000 home target.

Overall, affordable housing supply approvals in Scotland  totalled 11,677 homes, up 14% (1,401 homes) on the previous year.

This includes increases in affordable rent approvals (which have more than doubled, up by 1,433 homes), and affordable homeownership approvals (up by 5% or 92 homes), with a decrease in social rent approvals (down by 2% or 124 homes).

There were 10,569 affordable houses started, up by 14% (1,261 homes) compared to the previous year – including increases in social rent starts (up by 9% or 585 homes), affordable rent starts (up by 42% or 530 homes), and affordable homeownership starts (up by 8% or 146 homes).

Affordable housing supply completions totalled 8,534, up 16% (1,198 homes) on the previous year and include increases in social rent completions (up by 15% or 686 homes), affordable rent completions (up by 27% or 243 homes), and affordable homeownership completions (up by 14% or 269 homes).

In terms of new build, there were 4,344 homes completed between October and December 2017; a 7% decrease (313 homes) on the same quarter in 2016.

This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 17,739, up 5% (806 homes) compared to the 16,933 completed in the previous year.

But 4,483 new-build homes were started between October and December 2017, 3% more (151 homes) than the same quarter in 2016.

This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 19,702 which is up by 8% (1,388 homes) compared to the 18,314 homes started in the previous year.

Over that same October-December period, 3,352 private sector led homes were completed; 10% fewer (386 homes) than the same quarter in 2016.

This brings the total for the year to end December 2017 to 13,750 which is 5% more (714 homes) than the 13,036 completions in the previous year.

The stats show 3,247 private sector-led starts between October and December 2017, up 1% (35 homes) on the same quarter in 2016.

This brings the total for the year ending December 2017 to 13,774, which is 4% (583 homes) more than the 13,191 starts in the previous year.

New Build Housing – Social Sector Housing (housing association and council combined) – up to the end of December last year.

At 922, social housing completions between October and December were  8% more than the same quarter in 2016, bringing the total for the year to end December 2017 to 3,989 – a 2% increase on the 3,897 social sector completions in the previous year.

Meanwhile, 1,236 social sector homes were started between October and December 2017; 10% more than the same quarter in 2016 and bringing the total for the year to end December 2017 to 5,928 – a 16% increase on the 5,123 social sector starts in the previous year.

Between January and March 2018, 1,707 social sector homes were completed (60% more than the 1,067 completions in the same quarter in 2017), and 3,314 were started (3% more than the same quarter in the previous year).

That brings the total completions for the 12 months to end March 2018 to 4,629 (a 20% increase on the 3,866 social sector homes completed in the previous year).

Total starts over the 12 months to end March 2018 are now at 6,036 (4% fewer than the 6,316 started in the previous year).

There were 544 housing association completions between October and December 2017, 6% less than the 580 completions in the same quarter in 2016 – bringing the total for the year to end December 2017 to 2,489, an 8% (218 homes) decrease on the 2,707 completions over the previous year.

There were 710 housing association approvals between October and December 2017; 17% less than the 860 approvals in the same quarter in the previous year – bringing the total for the year to end December 2017 to 4,556. This is an increase of 25% (918 homes) on the 3,638 approvals in the previous year.

Overall, 1,382 housing association homes were completed between January and March 2018, 87% (641 homes) more completions than in the same period in the previous year and bringing the total completions for the 12 months to end March 2018 to 3,130 – an increase of 14% on 2,748 the previous year.

A total of 3,073 housing association homes were approved between January and March 2018, 5% more than the 2,917 approvals in the same quarter in 2017 – bringing the total approvals for the 12 months to end March 2018 to 4,712, a 5% decrease on the 4,945 approvals in the previous year.

There were 448 local authority completions between October and December 2017, which is 32% more than the number that were completed in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for the year ending December 2017 to 1,500. This is a 26% (310 homes) increase on the 1,190 completions the previous year.

There were 526 local authority starts between October and December 2017; more than double the 260 homes started in the same quarter in 2016. This brings the total for year ending December 2017 to 1,372. This is an 8% (113 homes) decrease on the 1,485 starts in the previous year.

Between January and March 2018, 325 local authority houses were completed (one home less than the same quarter in the previous year), and 241 were started (17% fewer than in the same quarter in the previous year).

That brings the total completions for the year to end March 2018 to 1,499, which is 34% more than the previous year.

Total starts for the 12 months to end March 2018 now stands at 1,324 which is a decrease of 3% on the 1,371 local authority homes started in the previous year.

Throughout the final year of the Right to Buy scheme in Scotland, there were 9,060 applications made, more than double the 3,890 applications that were made in the previous year to end September 2015.

Accounting for the period of time for applications to be processed and for sales to be made, Right to Buy sales are still being recorded.

In the latest available quarter, October to December 2017, there were 266 Right to Buy sales, 67% less than the 801 sales in the same quarter in the previous year, and also 55% less than the 587 sales in the previous quarter, July to September 2017.

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