Housing statistics quarterly update: December 2021

A summary of activity in new build housing, affordable housing and long term empty properties and second homes in Scotland.

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4. Private-led new housebuilding

The private sector is the biggest contributor to overall house building, accounting for almost three quarters (72%) of all homes completed in the 12 months to end December 2020.

Chart 5 shows the annual number of private sector led starts and completions from 2007 to 2020 (years to end December). This shows the impact of the recession in the second half of the last decade, with private sector led completions falling throughout 2008 due to the financial crisis. Following this, private led completions decreased more gradually until 2011, and have been broadly increasing in more recent years until dropping by 37% in the year to end December 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19 construction lockdown measures in place between mid-March and late June 2020.

Chart 5: Annual private sector led new build starts and completions both decreased in the latest year to end December 2020, with activity levels affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures in place from mid-March to late June 2020
Chart 5: Annual private sector led new build starts and completions in the years to end December from 2007 to 2020

Figures for the year to end December 2020

Chart 6 below shows that between October and December 2020, 3,910 private sector led homes were completed, an increase of 30% (912 homes) on the previous quarter, and an increase of 3,222 homes on April to June 2020, during which housebuilding activity was largely paused due to lockdown measures, but 17% (806 homes) fewer than in the same quarter in the previous year, October to December 2019. This brings the total for the year to end December 2020 to 10,634 completions, a decrease of 37% (6,130 homes) on the 16,764 completions in the previous year.

There were 4,110 private sector led starts between October and December 2020, an increase of 18% (633 homes) on the previous quarter July to September 2020, and 3,250 more homes completed than in April to June 2020, but 5% (219 homes) fewer than in the same quarter in 2019. This brings the total for the year ending December 2020 to 11,901, a decrease of 32% (5,596 homes) on the 17,497 starts in the previous year.

Chart 6: Private sector led new housebuilding starts and completions in the quarter Oct-Dec 2020 have both increased compared to the previous two quarters, however levels are lower than in the same quarter in the previous year
Chart 6: Quarterly private led new build starts and completions from January 2018 to December 2020
Table 2 – Private-led new housebuilding to end December 2020
Private sector homes Starts Completions
Quarter Oct to Dec 2017 3,199 3,204
Quarter Oct to Dec 2018 4,929 4,542
Quarter Oct to Dec 2019 4,329 4,716
Quarter Oct to Dec 2020 4,110 3,910
Change from Q4 2019 2019 to Q4 2020 -219 -806
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) -5% -17%
Year to end Dec 2017 13,618 13,570
Year to end Dec 2018 15,454 15,157
Year to end Dec 2019 17,497 16,784
Year to end Dec 2020 11,901 10,634
Change from 2019 to 2020 -5,596 -6,150
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) -32% -37%

In September 2013 the Scottish Government introduced the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme which has aimed to support buyers purchasing a new build home and to stimulate the house building industry. Following this, the Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build and Help to Buy (Scotland) Smaller Developers schemes were launched on
21 January 2016. Since 5 February 2021, the Scottish Government has no longer been accepting applications to the main Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme. Applications however continue to be accepted for the Help to Buy (Scotland) Smaller Developer scheme, but this scheme will close at the end of the financial year 2021/22. Further information on the Help to Buy schemes, along with monitoring information setting out numbers of sales and the characteristics of buyers, is available on the Help to Buy web pages.

In December 2019, the Scottish Government also introduced the First Home Fund, a shared equity pilot scheme to provide first-time buyers with up to £25,000 to help them buy a property that meets their needs and is located in the area where they want to live, and which includes the purchase of new build properties as well as existing properties. The First Home Fund scheme closed to new applications on 8th April 2021. Further information on the First Home Fund is available on the First Home Fund web pages as well as a Quantitative Analysis of the First Home Fund Evaluation, a Qualitative Evaluation of the Scottish Government First Home Fund Shared Equity Scheme and a Summary of findings from the quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the First Home Fund.

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

Map B shows the rates per 10,000 head of population (based on the latest mid-2020 population estimates) of private sector led new build completions in each local authority for the year to end December 2020.

It should be noted that the rate of private sector new housebuilding activity recorded will have been impacted by the introduction measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from mid-March to late June 2020.

The highest completion rates in the year to end December 2020 have been in Midlothian, East Lothian, Perth & Kinross, West Lothian, Highland and Orkney Islands. The lowest rates meanwhile, have been in Glasgow City, Stirling, South Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and Inverclyde.

Note that the private sector completion rates calculations contain some estimated figures. Estimated figures have been used for private sector completions for East Dunbartonshire Council for the period January to December 2020 and Angus Council, Glasgow Council and South Lanarkshire Council for the period October to December 2020.

Contact

Email: Housing_Statistics_Inbox@gov.scot

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