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Study shows need for continued focus on building affordable homes

Investment required beyond current parliament to solve housing crisis. 

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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has responded to new analysis which reveals that around 7,000 fewer homes a year are being built in Scotland than needed, saying the Scottish Government requires a long-term focus on increasing the supply of new build affordable housing. 

The study, released by BBC Scotland, found there was a 5,000 shortfall in the number of new homes built last year – or 7,000, if the extra homes needed to catch up with the backlog are included.

The shortfall comes on the back of an ambitious programme to build 50,000 affordable homes during the five years of the current parliament, which has seen a significant increase in public spending on housing, with £3 billion committed by the Scottish Government and matched by housing association funding.

SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas said:

“This study shows that not only was it right to commit to build 50,000 affordable homes, there also needs to be a long-term focus on providing affordable homes of all tenures to meet outstanding need.

“While the finding of a 7,000 annual shortage in new housing is a wake-up call, it is not a complete shock. We know that many people now struggle to buy a home, as house prices have increased much faster than average wages, and private renting has tripled since 1999, leading to an affordability gap.”

SFHA is calling for three actions that would help increase the supply of new homes and solve Scotland’s housing crisis for the long-term:

Continued grant investment in new build affordable housing at present levels
Planning and land system reform in order to provide affordable land for housing development
Reform of the housing system so that a range of high quality affordable housing is available to meet people’s changing needs throughout their lives

Sally Thomas continued:

“These figures clearly demonstrate that there must be continued investment to fund social and affordable housing beyond the current parliament, and we are calling on all political parties to commit to this.

“The current Planning Bill provides a real opportunity to reform the system and increase the supply of affordable housing. We are calling for the bill to set national and regional housing targets and allow land to be transferred at existing use value for affordable housing development. This would increase the supply of sites for affordable housing, as, at present, land value goes up when planning permission is granted for housing, making housing development expensive to fund.

“Finally, in the longer-term, we want to see reform of Scotland’s housing system so that it meets everyone’s needs. We want to see a property democracy – a level playing field of housing options and choices, with tenure neutrality in standard, quality, public perception and access – and social housing as a positive and equal choice in a re-balanced and mature housing market which delivers from generation to generation, according to need and aspiration, reinvesting the money in more homes.”


For further information, please contact SFHA Media Adviser Kirsten Walker on t: 0141 567 6221 m: 0788 788 8348 email: kwalker@sfha.co.uk

Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SFHA.HousingScotland

Twitter www.twitter.com/sfha_hq


  1. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) was established in 1975 and has around 133 members providing affordable housing and wider community services across Scotland, as well as a further 150 sector associates. The SFHA is owned and governed by its members and exists to lead, represent and support the work of housing associations and co-operatives throughout Scotland.
  2. The SFHA is the voice of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. SFHA’s 133 members represent 85% of the sector, own and manage 86% of the 247,000+ housing association stock across Scotland. Together, housing associations and co-operatives provide housing for almost 500,000 people, which is one in every 11 households.
  3. Over 15,000 staff are employed by SFHA members across Scotland, 93% of the staff within the sector.
  4. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies, regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.




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