A SCHEME to fund hundreds of affordable new homes in Scotland is responding to massive demand with a second phase.
The National Housing Trust initiative (NHT) has been such a substantial success that the Scottish Government today announced it will continue with the scheme.
Almost 500 homes have already been approved with the first homes expected to be ready early next year.
The NHT allows developers and local authorities to jointly fund homes with local authority loans to the scheme being underwritten by the Scottish Government.
The homes will remain available for below-market rent for between five and 10 years, and will then be sold, with residents getting first priority to buy.
Almost half of Scotland’s local authorities are expected to sign up for Phase two and invite applications from developers to participate.
Housing Minister Keith Brown launched the second phase of the programme as he congratulated Miller Homes on the signing of contracts to build 89 new NHT homes in Edinburgh as part of Phase one.
He said: “I have been delighted to see the huge success of our innovative National Housing Trust initiative and am pleased to announce that we will now build on that success by expanding the scheme.
“It is great to see developers like Miller Homes embrace the opportunities offered under Phase one and the second round offers developers another opportunity to participate.
“This will not only provide hundreds of new affordable homes for families throughout Scotland, but will stimulate growth and support hundreds of new jobs in the construction sector and wider economy.
“We want to encourage innovative approaches, such as the NHT, which levers in the maximum possible private sector finance for very little taxpayers’ money. These are crucial in light of savage Westminster cuts to our capital budget, and form a central part of our Economic Strategy.”
David Knight, Managing Director, Miller Homes, Scotland said: “At such a challenging time for the public and private sectors, it is welcome that Government recognises the important role that private sector companies, such as Miller Homes, can play in supporting local government meet its obligations in terms of affordable housing.
”In addition to providing affordable rents for key workers, enabling them to live in the city, the initiative also safeguards employment within the house building industry. Both of which provide the potential to deliver further economic benefits for Edinburgh.”
Councillor Paul Edie, Housing Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’m delighted that Edinburgh has secured another contract for building more affordable homes in the Capital.
“The National Housing Trust initiative is an innovative way of tackling the shortage of affordable homes in Edinburgh and I am really excited with this new partnership with Miller Homes.
“This will bring forward another significant housing development – just one of a number of innovative ways we have been increasing the number of badly-needed homes in the city.”
Barry White, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) which is managing procurement of the NHT initiative, stated: “It’s just over a year since we launched NHT, and in the last 12 months we have negotiated and signed contracts with numerous house builders and councils across Scotland to build nearly 500 affordable homes for rent.
“Most importantly, the injection of around £70m of funding to build these quality homes has helped protect around 800 jobs and is unlocking doors to mothballed construction sites.
“The NHT scheme has created a new and successful way to deliver affordable housing and key to its continued success is to build upon the unique partnerships that are being created between Scottish Government, SFT, councils and house builders.
“As a result, this has given all stakeholders the confidence that the market will be receptive to the launch of NHT Phase two and SFT is delighted to be involved in this much needed boost for the housing sector.”
Jonathan Fair, Chief Executive of home building industry body Homes for Scotland, said: “As demonstrated by the success of its first phase, the National Housing Trust is delivering direct social and economic benefits in respect of those looking for affordable housing for rent and the companies building them.”