Affordable house building in Scotland falls 6%

Ministers at Holyrood have delivered only 14% of its five-year affordable building plan, but housing affordability in Scotland has improved in past decade

The Scottish Government has been keen to stress the importance of making sure there are enough affordable homes.

Ministers at Holyrood have talked up the building of brand new social housing, and also brought an end to Margaret Thatcher’s monumental right to buy policy last year to protect the existing social stock north of the border.

But the latest building figures will be worrying reading for the SNP administration. The show 1,592 affordable homes were built between in the latest financial quarter – 6% less than the same period last year.

Nicola Sturgeon’s administration aims to have 50,000 affordable homes built over five years under the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

But Shelter Scotland warned that the plan was not yet on track, noting that last year only 7,336 affordable homes were built.

“This is just 14% of the Scottish Government’s five-year target to build 50,000 new affordable homes,” said Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland.

We’re building social housing at a faster rate than any other part of the UK

The SNP’s housing minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government remained “committed to delivering more affordable housing per head of the population than the UK government.”

“We’re also building social housing at a faster rate than any other part of the UK,” Stewart said.

New figures from the private housing market show house prices in Scotland, Wales and the north of England have generally become more affordable since the banking crisis began back in 2007.

Research from the Yorkshire Building Society shows that the gap between house prices and earnings has narrowed in many places over the past decade.

The average house price in Glasgow, for instance, has become 38% more affordable than in 2007, relative to earnings. In Newcastle prices have become 28% more affordable.

The south east of England, however, has a different story to tell. Prices have continued to soar in the decade since Northern Rock collapsed.

More than five boroughs in London have become 50% less affordable in the past decade, according to the Yorkshire Building Society report.