Rise in number of new homes across Scotland
There has been a significant increase in the volume of new homes in Scotland, new data reveals.
Official figures provided by the Scottish government show that 15,957 new homes were delivered in Scotland in the year to March 2014, compared to 14,895 in the previous year. This is the first rise since 2007-08.
A breakdown of the figures reveal that private sector-led new build completions rose by 9% on the previous year, to 10,686 new homes.
The latest statistics suggest that the Scottish government remains on track to deliver on its target of 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016.
A total of 6,850 affordable homes were completed through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in the year to June 2014, up 9% year-on-year. Approvals were up 25% to 7,067, while housing starts were up 55% at 6,530.
"It is encouraging to see that the number of new homes in Scotland has risen in the last year, driven in large part by an increase in the number of private sector completions," said housing minister Margaret Burgess.
She continued: "This is the first annual increase since before the recession, reflecting the growing confidence within the housing market, which the Scottish government has helped to stimulate through investment in initiatives designed to support the sector, and help people into home ownership."
Nonetheless, Burgess acknowledged that new housing supply in Scotland remains well below pre-recession levels and that the housebuilding industry continues to face a number of challenges.
"We are committed to working with organisations across the housing sector to address these, and work towards the shared goal of securing a sustained increase in housing supply," she added.
Burgess continued: "While we are making progress, the powers of independence would provide full flexibility over budgets, investment and innovative financing, allowing us to do even more to support the supply of new homes."