Housing Statistics 2020 & 2021: Key Trends Summary

Annual statistics up to 31 March 2021 on total new housing supply in Scotland across all sectors, along with information on various elements of local authority housing such as stock, lettings, house sales, evictions, housing lists, and housing for older people and people with disabilities.

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Key Findings

Total Housing Supply (new build, rehabilitations and net conversions)

  • New housing dwellings from conversions in 2020-21: Newly collected figures from local authorities show that there were 452 all-sector net new housing dwellings from conversions in 2020-21, a decrease of 223 homes (33%) on the 675 net new dwellings in 2019-20, with levels of conversions activity in 2020-21 being affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Total new housing supply in 2020-21: Total new housing supply in 2020-21 was 15,360 homes, based on combining the newly collected figures on net conversions with previously published figures on all-sector new housebuilding completions and affordable housing supply rehabilitations. This is a decrease of 7,687 homes (33%) on the 23,047 homes in 2019-20, and is the first annual decrease in total new housing supply since 2012-13, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across different types of housing supply activity.
  • As reported on in previous quarterly housing statistics releases: The financial year 2020-21 also saw decreases in completions for housing association new builds by 1,840 homes (44%), private-led new builds by 5,344 homes (33%), local authority new builds by 57 homes (4%), and refurbishments by 223 homes (67%). However the more recent 12 month period to June 2021 has seen an increase of 1,751 homes (10%) in all-sector new housebuilding completions compared with the previous year.

Stock by tenure

  • Stock by tenure: As at 31st March 2020, there were an estimated 2.6 million dwellings in Scotland, with an estimated 58% of dwellings being owner occupied, 4% being vacant or second homes, 15% being private rented or where the household is living rent free, and 23% being social rented properties. These estimates are based on combining together a range of available data for the year 2020 on total dwellings, vacant dwellings and social housing stock, along with survey estimates of the proportions of private rented and owner occupier households.

Local Authority Housing (based on newly collected figures from local authorities, although some associated trends have previously been reported on through separate Scottish Housing Regulator COVID-19 reporting)

  • Local authority housing stock: As at 31st March 2021 there were a total of 318,369 local authority dwellings, an increase of 1,461 (0.5%) on the 316,908 dwellings in 2020, and the third consecutive annual increase in local authority stock since 2018. Separate figures from the Scottish Housing Regulator show that housing association stock increased by 1,539 (0.5%) to 292,951 dwellings over the year to 31st March 2021, which results in total social sector housing stock of 611,320 dwellings as at 31st March 2021, compared to 608,320 dwellings in the previous year.
  • Vacant stock: As at 31st March 2021, local authorities reported 9,813 units of vacant stock, up by 1,482 units (18%) on the 8,331 units in the previous year, with some of this increase likely to have been due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were increases in vacant normal letting stock (by 883, or 26%, from 3,454 to 4,337), vacant units awaiting demolition (by 245 units, or 12%, from 2,069 to 2,314), vacant units awaiting modernisation (by 369, or 25%, from 1,499 to 1,868), and vacant stock used as temporary accommodation for homeless (by 5 units, or 1%, from 780 to 785), whilst vacant low demand stock decreased by 20 units or 4%, from 529 to 509.
  • Lettings: During 2020-21 there were 19,630 permanent local authority lettings made, a decrease of 6,376 lets (25%) compared to the previous year, with the total number of lets made likely to have been impacted on by COVID-19 restrictions. Of all the local authority lettings made in 2020-21, 48% were to homeless households, a higher proportion than in 2019-20 (42%). Correspondingly, 29% of lets made in 2020-21 were to housing waiting list households, a lower proportion than in 2019-20 (34%).
  • Evictions: There were 32 local authority tenancy terminations (evictions and abandonments) in 2020-21, a decrease from the 1,151 terminations in 2019-20 due to restrictions on evictions brought in due to COVID-19 legislation. The majority (75% or 24) of these terminations were due to rent arrears as opposed to antisocial behaviour or other reasons, although this percentage is lower than in 2019-20 (97% or 1,222).
  • Housing lists: At 31st March 2021, 178,260 applications were recorded on local authority or common housing register housing lists, an 8% increase on the 164,946 applications in 2020, with the figure in the latest year likely to have been impacted on by the COVID-19 pandemic, given the reduction in the overall number of local authority lets during 2020-21 due to COVID-19.

Local Authority Housing Assistance (based on newly collected figures from local authorities)

  • Houses in multiple occupation: As at 31st March 2021 there were a total of 14,862 licences in force, of which over 9 in 10 are accounted for by just six local authorities – Aberdeen City, Dundee City, City of Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow City, and Stirling.
  • Scheme of assistance: In 2020-21, 4,516 scheme of assistance grants were paid to private home owners, a 42% decrease (or 3,207 fewer grants) than 2019-20. Scheme of Assistance grants totalled £18.5 million, which is around £8 million less than in 2019-20. The majority of these were for disabled adaptions, 3,092 grants, which is 40% less than the 2019-20 figure of 5,132. Disabled adaptation grants in 2020-21 totalled £13.5 million, which is a decrease on the 2019-20 figure of £20.6 million.


Email: Housing_Statistics_Inbox@gov.scot

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