Housing statistics quarterly update: March 2021

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

8. Notes

This document should be read along with the explanatory notes on data sources and quality can be found in the Housing Statistics webpages.

Starts and completions

The statistics break down new build construction activity into private-led and social sector starts and completions, with the social sector further broken down between local authority and housing association activity.

The figures are sourced from local authority administrative systems and the Scottish Government Housing and Regeneration Programme (HARP) system. Private sector construction activity includes not only homes built for private sale but also some homes which are used in the affordable housing sector and self-build activity by local builders.

New build information is provided for starts (when the foundations are begun) and completions (when a building inspector deems the property complete).

In general, the number of starts will be a strong indicator of the likely trend in completions over the longer term, but there may well be differences over the short and medium term depending on factors such as the housing market, economic climate, access to finance, and speed of construction.

A wide range of factors can influence the length of time it takes for a new private dwelling to be constructed, including the type of property (house, flat etc.), and the overall size of the site. Depending on the size of the site, the average time from start to completion of the entire site can range from anywhere between around 1.5 years to 2.75 years. Individual homes, or blocks of homes, might be completed in shorter timescales if parts of the site are completed in advance of the rest.

Comparing over time

This document generally compares the latest quarter's figures with those for the equivalent quarter in previous years, or it compares the latest 12 month period with the previous one. For the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, comparisons are also made with the 12 month period to March 2016, the last year prior to the current Scottish Government target period to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by March 2021.

Housing Statistics across the UK

Information on housing statistics developments across the UK is available on the Government Statistical Service (GSS) webpages.

This includes material such as:

  • The Cross-Government Housing, Homelessness and Planning Statistics Steering Group helps set the strategic direction for UK collaboration to improve the overall picture of housing statistics, including representatives from the devolved administrations.
  • A GSS housing and planning statistics interactive tool, which contain a searchable database of all housing and planning statistics produced by UK public bodies and devolved administrations, along with a summary of the UK housing topic landscape.
  • Topic reports on cross-UK areas such as on Affordable Housing Statistics.
  • A report on the definitions, terminology and feasibility of harmonisation of affordable housing statistics across the UK.


Email: housingstatistics@gov.scot

Back to top