A further contract under the National Housing Trust initiative (NHT), a new financing model to provide local affordable housing, has now been signed in the Highlands paving the way for O'Brien Properties Ltd to construct 15 much-needed homes in Culloden.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil welcomed the announcement:
"I am delighted that our creative, innovative NHT funding model, the first of its kind in the UK, has borne fruit.
"It will deliver dozens of new homes in the Highlands, secured for very little taxpayers' money, support jobs and stimulate construction in response to the recession.
"Clearly the NHT has inspired confidence. Councils, developers and housing associations have risen to the challenge and embraced this approach as one that can help ease housing pressures locally."
Tom O'Brien, Director, O'Brien Properties Ltd said:
"O'Brien Properties are delighted to be part of the Scottish Government's initiative to unlock the provision of affordable housing through its National Housing Trust model.
"In partnership with the Highland Council we look forward to delivering 15 new fuel efficient homes for affordable rent in Culloden in the coming months.
"Demand for affordable housing remains very strong in Inverness-shire but the difficulty for all parties has been to meet the funding requirements in the challenging economy.
"We congratulate the Scottish Government in arriving at a solution which overcomes the obstacles and allows developers to make these longer term investments."
Cllr Margaret Davidson, Housing and Social Work Chair at Highland Council said:
"Everyone in the Highlands is aware of the need for new housing, and our local housing strategy identified this type of rented housing as important - particularly at a time when it is more difficult for people to access funding as first time buyers.
"I'm also delighted that, once again, The Highland Council is at the forefront of innovation in new housing supply."
The NHT initiative, led by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, will see developers and local authorities jointly funding the purchase of newly-built homes so they can be made available for rent at below market rates.
Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, said:
"In these challenging economic times, NHT opens the door to a new way to build affordable housing in Scotland.
"This demonstrates how the public and private sectors can work together in an imaginative way. Such innovation is at the heart of Scottish Futures Trust's work."
Highland Housing Alliance has also entered into a contract to deliver 42 NHT homes in Inverness.
Further information on the NHT initiative can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/nht