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By David Alexander

CEO, DJ Alexander Scotland


Scottish housebuilding needs to return to levels from 25 years ago

Scottish housebuilding needs to return to the completion numbers from 25 years ago according to analysis of the latest official statistics by a leading property firm.

DJ Alexander Ltd, which is the largest lettings and estate agency in Scotland, said that new housebuilding completion volumes have fallen by 19.4% over the last 25 years.

In the first ten years of the Scottish parliament from 1999 to 2008 there were 237,774 new homes built in both the private and social sectors. Over the last ten years this number has fallen to 191,634. From the 1990’s onwards the annual number of new build homes completions was rarely below 20,000 and almost reached 26,000 in 2007 yet between 2009 and 2017 the volume of new build homes was always below 20,000 and fell as low as 15,053 in 2012.


These are volumes which are not keeping up with the population increase resulting in growing demand in the private and social sectors resulting in the soaring house prices and rising rents that have been seen over the last few years.

Housing emergency

These figures highlight why housing in Scotland is in its current predicament. Too few homes being built over a long period has resulted in a disconnect between supply and demand that is causing the current levels of homelessness, record levels of people living in temporary accommodation, rising house prices, and increased rents in both the private and social rented sectors.”

With West Dunbartonshire becoming the fifth council to declare a housing emergency, it is clear that the situation is getting worse and the current policies are not resolving the issue. Between 1999 and 2022 (the latest date for which there are statistics) Scotland’s population rose by 375,700 so it is obvious that we are not building enough properties to support these extra people and the enormous increase in the number of single and two person homes.

With John Swinney stating that he intends to focus on the issues that most people are concerned about, it is obvious that a complete overhaul of housing is required.

Ditching the Housing Scotland Bill would go some way to increasing investor confidence in the market and increasing the number of properties being built. Engaging with the housing sector is also essential if further emergencies are to be avoided and we can start to resolve the severe shortage of new properties being built in Scotland.


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