Covid restrictions blamed as number of new homes in Scotland drops by a third

The number of houses built in Scotland fell by a third in one year, to the lowest total for eight years – with restrictions imposed in the wake of the Covid pandemic blamed for the drop.

There were a total of 15,360 homes either built, refurbished or converted in 2020-21 – with this down 33% from 23,047 in 2019-20.

It was the first time since 2012-13 that the number of new homes built has fallen – with the overall total number of homes completed also the lowest since that year.

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The fall reflects the “impact of Covid-19 restrictions on housebuilding”, a Scottish Government report said.

The number of new homes build fell dramatically, with Covid-19 being blamed for the slump Pic: PA

It added: “Before the pandemic, new housing supply had reached its highest point since the financial crisis in 2008, with 23,047 new homes built, refurbished, or converted in 2019-20.

“This was, however, 16% below the 27,594 new supply in 2007-08.”

While the number of council and housing association homes increased, these rose by 0.5% compared to the 8% rise in the number of people on the waiting lists.

As of March 31 2021, there were a total of 318,369 local authority homes across Scotland – an increase of 1,461 (0.5%) on the previous year and the third year in a row this total had grown.

The number of housing association properties increased by 1,539 (0.5%) to stand at 292,951 by the end of March last year.

The figures also showed that as of March 31 2021 there had been 178,260 applications for housing to local authority or common housing register housing lists, an increase of 8% from 2020.

Meanwhile, the figures also showed that just 32 council tenancies were terminated over the course of 2020-21 – either due to someone being evicted or the property being abandoned.

This total was down from 1,151 terminations in 2019-20, with restrictions on evictions introduced in the wake of the Covid pandemic the reason for the fall.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are concerned that the number of people on the housing list has risen. Key to helping address this is the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70% will be available for social rent and 10% will be in our remote, rural and island communities.

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