Scotland’s housing needs won’t be met says top housing chief


House sales in Scotland have dipped since funding for the Help to Buy housing scheme ran out.


Scotland’s home building industry responded with caution and frustration to the latest official quarterly statistics announcing a significant increase in the number of new build completions for April-June compared to last year.


With the details published on a UK-wide “day of action” aiming to push housing up the political agenda, Philip Hogg, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, voiced his concerns. He said:


“Whilst any rise in the number of much needed new homes being built is, of course, to be warmly welcomed, what these figures show beyond doubt is the game-changing impact that the Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme had in the first half of 2014.


“However, funding for the scheme for this financial year ran out in July since which time sales have significantly dropped off.


“With the industry having to adjust production as a result, it is our view that this will be reflected in the statistics for the later part of the year. We therefore fear that overall activity levels for 2014 will be broadly flat, meaning that Scotland will continue to fall well-behind the number of new homes required to meet the country’s housing need.


“Buyer interest is plain to see after so many years of pent-up demand. So not only is this situation highly frustrating for would-be home buyers, particularly our young people and growing families, it also places more pressure on an already overburdened rented sector at a time when industry recovery should be being fully nurtured.


“Yet over six weeks from the new £125m funding for housing supply announced in the Draft Budget, we still await details of how this investment is to be allocated.


“Scotland needs greater commitment and bold action from politicians of all parties and at all levels if is to ensure its people have access to the range of quality housing options they deserve.”