Housing minister Kevin Stewart has welcomed the 15% increase in the supply of new housing but has warned about the potentially damaging impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
“Private house builders are particularly vulnerable to the implications of Brexit," he said. "Construction material imports to the United Kingdom from European Union member states accounted for more than 60% of the total value of construction material imports to the United Kingdom in 2018. In addition, more than 7,000 EU nationals were employed in the Scottish construction sector in 2017. A ‘no deal’ Brexit poses significant risks to builders’ supply chains and the construction workforce in Scotland. Housing is yet another example of the deep damage that could be done to Scotland by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.”
The latest figures represent the sixth consecutive annual increase in the total housing supply and the highest annual figure since 2008-09. For the first time since 1980, local authority housing stock has also increased.
The total new housing supply in Scotland - new builds, refurbishments and conversions - increased by 15% in 2018-19, to 22,273 new housing units, or 2,953 more homes than the previous year.
Housing association new builds increased by 1,041 homes (33%) and private-led new builds increased by 2,679 homes (21%), whilst local authority new builds decreased by 51 homes (3%), refurbishments decreased by 642 homes (67%) and net conversions decreased by 74 homes (10%).
However, at 31 March 2018, there were 315,625 local authority dwellings in Scotland, an increase of 1,192 units (0.4%) from the previous year, and the first annual increase in local authority stock seen in this time series since 1980.
In 2018-19, 21,292 new build homes were completed in Scotland, an increase of 3,669 homes (21%) on the 17,623 completions in the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of completions since 2007-08. During the same time-period the number of homes started increased by 3,160 homes (16%) from 19,604 to 22,764.
In 2018-19, there were 9,554 units completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity, an increase of 994 units (12%) on the previous year. Approvals decreased by 547 units (5%) in the latest year to 11,130 in 2018-19, and starts increased by 303 units (3%) to reach 10,872.