Information

Housing statistics quarterly update: June 2021

A summary of activity in new build housing and affordable housing in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


3. All-sector new housebuilding

The new-housebuilding section of this document provides figures on the number of homes started, based on when the foundations are begun, and completed, which is based on when a building inspector deems the property complete.

Figures are presented for homes built on privately led sites (referred to throughout as private sector), local authority led sites (referred to as local authority sector) and housing association led sites (referred to as housing association sector). Social sector housebuilding is the combined total of local authority and housing association builds.

For the private sector the latest information available is for the quarter ending June 2020. Therefore headline findings for new housebuilding across all sectors are presented up to end June 2020, with other figures on social sector housebuilding presented up to end September 2020 where more recent data allows.

The figures have not been seasonally adjusted and so commentary tends to compare the latest 12 month period with the previous 12 month period, or the latest quarter with the same quarter in the previous year. Also note that some of the peaks in the number of starts in Quarter 1 (January to March) each year are due to large numbers of housing association approvals being granted near the end of the financial year.

It should be noted that the amount of all-sector new housebuilding activity recorded in the quarters January to March 2020 and April to June 2020 will have been impacted by the introduction of measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from mid-March to late June, in which non-essential construction activity stopped and home buyers were advised to delay moving to a new home where possible, after which there has been a phased re-start of supply activity.

These impacts will have lowered the total amount of activity recorded compared to what would otherwise have been the case, with nearly all local authority areas seeing a decrease in the numbers of starts and completions in April to June 2020 compared to the same quarter in the previous year 2019. Year to date totals to end June 2020 have also been affected, with almost three-quarters (72%) of local authority areas seeing a drop in the number of starts over the latest 12 month period, and almost 9 in 10 (88%) seeing a fall in the number of completions.

Chart 1 (see page 1) shows that annual all-sector new build starts and completions (years to end June) have both shown a broadly decreasing direction of trend following the financial crisis in 2008, with figures generally falling up to 2013, after which there have been increases most years up to 2019. In the latest year to June 2020, starts and completions have decreased by 14% and 21% respectively, with activity levels being affected by the COVID lockdown measures in place between mid March and late June 2020.

Figures for the year to end June 2020

Levels of activity in the most recent two quarters January to March 2020 and April to June have been affected by the COVID-19 construction lockdown measures in place between mid-March and late June, with all sectors showing marked decreases in the total number of completions recorded for April to June 2020.

There were 724 all-sector completions in April to June 2020, a decrease of 87% (4,735 homes) compared with the 5,459 completions in the same quarter in 2019. Private led completions dropped by 85% (3,794 homes) to 690, local authority completions decreased by 92% (412 homes) to 34, and housing association completions dropped by 100%, with 0 completions recorded in April to June 2020 compared to the 529 homes in April to June 2019 (see Chart 2).

Chart 2: Levels of quarterly new housebuilding completions in April to June 2020 have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures from mid March to late June 2020

Chart 3 shows quarterly trends in all-sector starts since January 2018. There were 1,262 all-sector starts in April to June 2020, a decrease of 78% (4,392 homes) compared with the 5,654 starts in the same quarter in 2019. Private led starts dropped by 81% (3,589 homes) to 845, local authority starts decreased by 97% (500 homes) to 13, and housing association approvals dropped by 43% (303 homes), with 404 approvals recorded in April to June 2020 compared to the 707 homes in April to June 2019.

Chart 3: Levels of quarterly new housebuilding starts in April to June 2020 have also been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures from mid March to late June 2020

There were 724 all sector new build homes completed between April to June 2020; a decrease of 87% (4,735 homes) on the same quarter in 2019. This brings the total for the year to end June 2020 to 17,029, down 21% (4,439 homes) compared to the 21,468 completed in the previous year, and the lowest annual figure to end June since 2015.

There were 1,262 new build homes started between April and June 2020, a decrease of 78% (4,392 homes) on the same quarter in 2019. This brings the total for the year to end June 2020 to 20,248 which is down 14% (3,194 homes) compared to the 23,442 homes started in the previous year, but is 5% higher than the 19,332 homes started in the year to June 2018.

Table 1 – All sector new housebuilding to end June 2020
All sector homes Starts Completions
Quarter Apr to Jun 2017 4,965 4,661
Quarter Apr to Jun 2018 4,719 5,179
Quarter Apr to Jun 2019 5,654 5,459
Quarter Apr to Jun 2020 1,262 724
Change from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 -4,392 -4,735
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) -78% -87%
Year to Jun 2017 20,329 17,411
Year to Jun 2018 19,332 18,089
Year to Jun 2019 23,442 21,468
Year to Jun 2020 20,248 17,029
Change from 2019 to 2020 -3,194 -4,439
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) -14% -21%

Trends since 2007

Chart 1 (see page 1) presents new build completion trends from 2007 on an annual basis to end June 2020. In 2007 (year to end June) the number of all sector homes started was nearly 26,000 while completions were slightly lower at 25,500. The number of homes completed dropped steeply between 2008 and 2013 to just over 14,000 then fluctuated in the following two years to reach nearly 16,000 in 2015. Following this, the number of homes completed increased to nearly 21,500 in 2019, although the figure has since dropped to just over 17,000 in the year to end June 2020, given the impact of COVID construction lockdown measures in place between mid-March and late June 2020.

Sub-national local authority figures for the year to end June 2020

The information on new build housing in Scotland is collected and published at local authority level. Map A, below, shows new house building in the year to end June 2020, as a rate per 10,000 population based on the latest mid-2019 population estimates. It should be noted that the rates of all-sector new housebuilding activity recorded across the quarters January to March 2020 and April to June 2020 will have been impacted by the introduction measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from mid-March to late June.

In the year to end June 2020 the highest new build rates were observed in East Lothian Midlothian, Perth & Kinross, West Lothian and Edinburgh. The lowest rates were observed in Stirling, Dundee City, Inverclyde and South Ayrshire.

Map A: New build housing - All Sector completions: rates per 10,000 population, year to end June 2020

Comparison with the rest of the UK from 2007 to 2021

Each of the countries of the UK produces their own statistics on quarterly new build housing starts and completions by tenure, and all use broadly consistent definitions. The quarterly new build statistics for each of the countries of the UK are brought together in the UK House building update section of the ONS website.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) also produces an additional annual set of statistics for England on new build homes, as a component part of the 'Housing supply; net additional dwellings, England' set of statistics[1]. These statistics are collected on a different basis to the quarterly UK country statistics as local authorities can use a range of data sources to collate these figures, rather than solely using building control information. Latest figures on this for 2019/20 were published in November 2020, and the publication advised that the 'net additional dwellings' should be considered the primary and most comprehensive measure of housing supply in England.

MHCLG have advised that the quarterly new build statistical collection for England, whilst being a useful leading indicator of activity throughout the year, is not currently capturing all new build activity. This is largely due to difficulties in collecting accurate starts and completions data from independent building inspectors or where building control has been sourced out to strategic partnerships or the private sector. These data issues do not exist in the Scotland quarterly housing statistics, given that all of the 32 local authorities in Scotland directly manage building control and the associated provision of data to the Scottish Government on starts and completions.

As a result of this advice from MHCLG, the new build component figures of the 'net additional dwellings' statistics for England are included in the UK comparisons as an additional set of figures to consider when comparing between countries on a financial year basis.

Chart 4a presents trends in the rates of new house building per 10,000 population across each of the UK countries on a financial year basis (years to end March) to allow for comparisons with both the England financial year 'net additional dwelling' statistics and rates from each of the quarterly UK series. This shows that whilst Scotland had a higher rate of completions per 10,000 head of population than England over the period 2006/07 to 2013/14, that Scotland and England have seen broadly similar rates of housebuilding each year across the period 2014/15 to 2019/20, when comparing the Scotland figures to the England net addition figures.

In the financial year 2019/20, the 40 homes built per 10,000 population in Scotland has been similar to the rates seen in England (net additional dwellings figures) and Northern Ireland (both 39 homes per 10,000). The new housebuilding figures for Wales are yet to be published but will be added to Chart 4a in future publications when available.

Chart 4a: New house building completions as a rate per 10,000 population (years to end March) - Scotland had a rate of 40 in the year to end March 2020, similar to the rates in Northern Ireland (39) and England 'net additional dwellings' (39)

Chart 4b presents more recent trends in the rates of new housebuilding per 10,000 population across each of the UK countries on a quarterly basis, based on the latest published information available for each country[2]. The England 'net additional dwelling' figure for the financial year 2019/20 is also included as an average across each of the quarters within this year, to help demonstrate the difference in the relative level between this figure and the separate quarterly England building control based figures.

The chart shows the clear impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on construction activity in the quarter April to June 2020, with the rates of new housebuilding per 10,000 population dropping compared to the same in quarter in the previous year by 87% in Scotland, 65% in England (building control based figures), and 61% in Northern Ireland.

Chart 4b: Quarterly new housebuilding rates per 10,000 population for Scotland, Northern Ireland and England (building control figures) dropped in the quarter April to June 2020, with completion rates likely to have been affected by COVID lockdown measures in place

The more recent quarterly figures available for England and Northern Ireland shown in Chart 4b both show an increase in the rates of new housebuilding immediately following the April to June 2020 quarter.

More recent comparable quarterly all-sector completions figures are not yet available for Scotland for the period following April to June 2020, however separate published information on the number of private led new build sales transactions from the UK House Price Index (presented in Section 5) shows that the number of private new build transactions in Scotland increased from 713 in April to June 2020 up to 2,408 transaction in July to September, and then 3,053 transactions in October to December. The 3,053 new build sales transactions in October to December 2020 is 754 (20%) transactions below the level seen in the same quarter in the previous year.

Contact

Email: housingstatistics@gov.scot

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