Massive fall in housing association new builds

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​Scottish Government figures show steep drop in housing association homes being built 

3rd March 2015 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

New figures reveal a massive drop in new builds by housing associations.

Latest housing statistics, released today (Tuesday), show 435 housing association completions between July and September 2014 - 43% down on the same quarter in 2013.

Scottish Government statistics also show there were 198 housing association approvals between July and September 2014, a 22% drop on the same quarter in the year previous.

Susan Torrance, policy manager for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said while the total approvals for new build social homes are increasing, this is from a very low level seen in previous years when there were concerns about subsidy levels and viability.

She said: “The reasons may well be found in the continuing concerns about the availability of private finance for new projects as well as land banking and pipeline issues where investment in progressing new projects has been difficult. 

“The SFHA is working with the sector and Scottish Government, in relation to our housing association resource for investment scheme finance project, to try and overcome these constraints as well as continuing the dialogue with lenders and others to improve terms and conditions.

“Whether these figures can be seen as a blip or otherwise, they do emphasise the continuing difficulties of delivering new social rented housing for the people in our communities in greatest need. We must continue, as a sector, to keep building new homes, where these are required, for the people of Scotland.”

Investment in progressing new projects has been difficult - Sam Torrance

Overall, however, the number of social sector homes started rose by 5% to 3,593 compared to 3,417 started in the previous year.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said social new build starts is still far below the number needed to meet demand.

“A lack of investment in social housing over the last three decades and the impact of right to buy, with more than half a million social homes sold off, all add up to a major shortage of social housing across Scotland,” he said.

“With 150,500 households on council waiting lists for a home of their own, we believe at least 10,000 new homes for social rent need to be built each year to meaningfully start to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.”

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said increased investment in house building has helped stimulate growth in the Scottish economy and led to more starts in the private and social sectors.

“We plan to spend over £1.7 billion to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament. There is a £200 million increase in the housing budget for 2015-16 compared to the budget for 2014-15,” she said.

“With almost 24,000 affordable homes delivered, we have already reached 80 per cent of this target.

“This comes despite continuing, challenging economic times and Westminster cuts to budgets.”

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4th March 2015 by Susan Torrance

Much as it would be useful to be a famous golfer, I am in fact no relation and a woman !