A “no deal” exit from the EU has potential to cause “serious problems” for Scotland’s housing sector, housing minister Kevin Stewart has warned.
In a letter to housing organisations and stakeholders due to issue this week, Stewart will highlight the potential adverse consequences of Brexit including:
• Hurting investor confidence in residential assets and Build To Rent markets
• Inflation and interest rate fluctuation affecting rents, the financial health of Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and the availability and cost of finance for new build homes
• Reduced availability and increased costs of house-building materials such as timber, prefabricated concrete and boilers from non-tariff and tariff barriers
• Impact on the availability of EU nationals working in the construction and housebuilding sector, as well as housing support services
Yesterday, the minister spoke ahead of Scotland’s Housing Festival (12th March). Stewart said: “The UK’s exit from the EU has the potential to impact the housing sector in Scotland and therefore our housing ambitions.
“As we strive to provide stability and certainty, our efforts are being compromised by the UK government’s failure to acknowledge our concerns or discuss compromise alternatives.
“Some 60% of the UK’s building material imports come from the EU, and we have a particular reliance in Scotland on imported timber for housebuilding.
“Many of those employed across the housing sector are EU nationals. The extent to which we depend on EU relations cannot and should not be underestimated.”
He added: “We are committed to delivering more affordable homes and are on track to deliver our ambitious 50,000 affordable homes target by 2021, backed by our investment of over £3bn.
“We are also investing in energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, making them warmer and cheaper to heat.
“We must not allow the UK government’s approach to Brexit jeopardise these commitments, which also supports our aims to end homelessness, and reduce fuel poverty.
“We will continue to work with the housing sector on Brexit-related risks – with construction, housebuilding and mortgage lending industries in Scotland, as well as through the Joint Housing Policy and Delivery Group.”