Housing statistics quarterly update: March 2021

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

This document is part of a collection

4. Private-led new housebuilding

Chart 5: In the latest year to end March 2020, annual private sector led new build starts have remained at similar levels (a slight drop of 10 homes), whilst completions have increased by 3% (528 homes)
Annual private sector led new build starts and completions in the years to end March from 2007 to 2020

The private sector is the biggest contributor to overall house building, accounting for almost three quarters (74%) of all homes completed in the 12 months to end March 2020.

Chart 6: The levels of starts and completions in January to March 2020 will have been affected by the start of COVID-19 lockdown measures from mid-March 2020 onwards
Quarterly private led new build starts and completions from 2007 to 2020

Figures for the year to end March 2020

Between January and March 2020, 2,989 private sector led homes were completed; 13% less (449 homes) than the same quarter in 2019 but 6% more (164 homes) than in 2018. This brings the total for the year to end March 2020 to 16,238 which is 3% more (528 homes) than the 15,710 completions in the previous year.

There were 3,403 private sector led starts between January to March 2020, 14% less (569 homes) than the same quarter in 2019 but 18% more (514 homes) than in 2018. This brings the total for the year ending March 2020 to 16,221 which is 10 fewer homes than the 16,231 starts in the previous year, but an increase of 19% (2,659 homes) on the year to end March 2018.

Table 2: Private-led new housebuilding to March 2020
Starts Completions
Quarter Jan to Mar 2018 2,889 2,825
Quarter Jan to Mar 2019 3,972 3,438
Quarter Jan to Mar 2020 3,403 2,989
Change from Q1 2019 2019 to Q1 2020 -569 -449
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) -14% -13%
Year to Mar 2018 13,562 13,031
Year to Mar 2019 16,231 15,710
Year to Dec 2020 16,221 16,238
Change from 2019 to 2020 -10 +528
Change from 2019 to 2020 (%) 0.1% +3%

Trends since 2008

In 2008 (year to end March) the number of private sector homes started was just over 20,000 while completions were slightly higher at just over 21,500. Private sector led new build housing was hit particularly hard by the recession. The number of homes completed dropped steeply between 2008 and 2010 then continued to decrease more gradually to 10,000 homes in 2012 and then to nearly 8,000 in 2013. Since then, the number of homes completed has increased each year, except from a drop in 2018, to over 16,000 in 2020.

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. Further information on the 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 2020, the Scottish Government also introduced the First Home Fund. This is 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. Futher 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 March 2020

Map B shows the rates per 10,000 head of population (based on the latest mid-2019 population estimates) of private sector led new build completions in each local authority for the year to end March 2020.

The highest completion rates have been in East Lothian, Midlothian, Perth & Kinross, West Lothian and Edinburgh. The lowest rates meanwhile, have been in Stirling, Inverclyde, Dumfries & Galloway and Glasgow City.

Map B: New build housing - Private Sector completions: rates per 10,000 population, year to end March 2020
Private sector new housebuilding completion rates, per 10,000 population in the year to end March 2020


Email: housingstatistics@gov.scot

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