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Focus on safe increase in affordable homes.
The annual number of affordable homes approved and started has increased, despite the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
Quarterly Housing Statistics for April to June 2020 published today show that, in the year to end June 2020, 12,276 affordable homes were approved, an increase of 1,436 homes (13%) on the previous year. Over the same period, 10,701 homes were started, an increase of 186 homes (2%) on 2019.
The statistics also include figures on all-sector new housebuilding, with a total of 22,386 homes built in the latest year 2019, an increase of 11% on the previous year, and the highest number of homes built since 2007.
Lockdown measures led to a decrease in the number of affordable homes completed in the most recent quarter, covering a period in which all non-essential construction and house purchase activity in Scotland was paused due to lockdown measures, with restrictions only being lifted towards the end of June.
Despite restrictions, affordable housing approvals and starts have increased in the latest year to June 2020. Approvals, starts and completions of affordable housing in the latest year all remain above levels previously seen prior to the beginning of the 50,000 affordable homes target period in 2016.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the construction sector. The lockdown meant nearly a third of the year saw little to no activity able to take place and a necessary pause in the delivery of affordable homes - but we remain committed to delivering the homes that Scotland needs. Our focus now is to get on with the job, and to do it safely.
“Backed by a commitment of more than £3.5 billion, we are delivering more good quality, secure and affordable homes, which will in turn help create strong, sustainable communities.
“We were on track to deliver on our commitment to meet the 50,000 affordable homes target by the end of March 2021 but, due to the impact of the pandemic, it is now unlikely we will do so – but we will continue to work with partners across the housing sector to ensure the delivery of the remainder of these homes, as quickly as it is safe.”
The Scottish Government has now delivered nearly 96,000 affordable homes since 2007, with more than 66,000 of these for social rent.
In the four years to 2018-19, Scotland has delivered over 80% more affordable homes per head of population than in both England and Wales, 50% more homes per head than in Northern Ireland, and over eight times more social rented properties per head than in England.