Housing looks like being a major issue at this week’s election for the Scottish Parliament, with the shortfall in new homes building in particular drawing commitment from the major parties.
Last year’s Commission on Housing and Wellbeing recommended 23,000 new homes for Scotland every year. While this figure was frequently achieved or exceeded for the first nine years of the Parliament (which was established in 1999), the consequences of the global financial crisis of 2007/08 has drawn that number below 15,000 (and in two year, below 10,000) since.
As with the UK as a whole, this dearth in supply has led to upward pressure on prices and reduced affordability for many. Even schemes such as Help to Buy have limited funds, meaning there will be many unable to purchase without the government-funded equity loan.
Homes for Scotland, which represents 95% of Scotland's building firms, has called for the next Scottish government, whoever it is run by, to put pressure on councils to reduce the obstacles in place through the planning process, which many of its members blame for unnecessary delays in approving new homes building.
Policies announced to date by the major Scottish parties contending for seats in the 5 May election are:
- Scottish National Party – 50,000 new ‘affordable’ homes by the end of the next parliament
- Labour – at least 60,000 new ‘affordable’ homes
- Conservative – 100,000 (of which 50,000 ‘affordable’) new homes by increasing building by 10% every year
- Liberal Democrat – 110,000 new homes (of which 50,000 ‘affordable’) during the next parliament
- Greens – at least 12,000 new social rent houses every year and a tax on derelict land
- UKIP – 50,000 social and ‘affordable’ homes during the next parliament
- RISE – 100,000 new homes across the next parliament
Here are our favourite current new homes across a range of budgets:
The Pines in Alloway, South Ayrshire (Ortus Homes)
The Pines is a new collection of 20 luxurious two-bedroom apartments aimed at buyers of 55 years and older. The specification of this age-exclusive scheme is high, with underfloor heating, walk-in wardrobes and contemporary bathroom and en suites. Each has allocated parking and most have a private balcony or terrace.
Interest in the scheme has been high since its recent launch. Rosemary Giovino, regional sales and marketing director for Ortus Homes in Scotland, says: “House-hunters have already shown us in good numbers that they are attracted to the contemporary, urban lifestyle on offer to them at The Pines which, combined with the development’s location, we’re confident will continue to prove popular with buyers.
Prices: From £284,950
Find out more at www.ortushomes.co.uk
Glenesk in Lasswade, Midlothian (Miller Homes)
The recently re-launched Help to Buy Scotland scheme is available on the latest batch of apartments released at this semi-rural development, with the 700 sq ft properties ready to move into and coming with their own parking space.
Neil Gaffney, Scotland sales director at Miller Homes, says: “Apartment living at Glenesk is breathtaking, with the viaduct as a commanding backdrop. The two bedroom apartment is a perfect starter home for first time buyers, with Help to Buy available.
The development is just one-and-a-half miles from the Edinburgh City Bypass and two-and-a-half miles from the new Eskbank station, which is on the Borders Railway line and makes the village a commutable location for Edinburgh and the rest of East and Central Scotland.
Prices: From £149,995
Find out more at www.millerhomes.co.uk
Liberton Grange in Edinburgh (CALA Homes)
Two new show homes were opened at this site in mid-April, giving house-hunters in the capital the chance to look around two different house types (the ‘Crichton’ and the ‘Cleland’) and a host of inspiring designs from Jeffreys Interiors to enhance the impressive build quality and specifications. They are now open daily for viewings by appointment.
The former Scottish Water Treatment Works site boasts open views over the Edinburgh skyline and Arthur’s Seat and is under five miles from the city centre. This new development with provide a range of four- and five-bedroom detached homes alongside a selection of three-bedroom terraces and some apartments.
Stala Thomson, sales manager with CALA Homes (East), says: ““Liberton is a fantastically positioned suburb with everything a homeowner needs right on their doorstep, but it’s the lifestyle and views that really separate it from the rest as it sits on the edge of the Braid Hills offering instant access to some of the most stunning scenery in the city, fabulous walks and top class golf courses.”
Prices: From £170,000
Find out more at www.cala.co.uk ; 01313 411658
Red Lion in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire (Mactaggart & Mickel Homes)
Another development new to the market is this collection of 17 homes, which includes the first examples of a brand new house type, the four-bedroom ‘Inchcolm’, which is designed over one-and-a-half storeys with an en suite master bedroom on the ground floor, dormer windows to the upper floor and a sun room.
All of the homes at this development will feature an integrated garage and external finishes in traditional brick facade.
The development offers picturesque countryside just minutes away by car, with transport links to Glasgow city centre and elsewhere.
Currently on sale from the housebuilder’s hub at The Avenue Shopping Centre, Newton Mearns, an on-site sales centre and show home are due to open late summer this year.
Prices: From £574,995
Find out more at www.macmic.co.uk ; 0845 600 1925
Earl’s Green in Barassie, South Ayrshire (Stewart Milne Homes)
This 117-unit development, located in the seaside town adjoining world-famous golf Mecca of Troon, really has something for most buyers, consisting of a wide spectrum of 23 property types with from two to six bedrooms. The site plan has been designed to give homeowners optimal views to the west, focusing on the magnificent summit of Goat Fell in Arran.
Property owners looking to upgrade to one of these new properties can take advantage of the company’s Part Exchange scheme. Marlyn Boal, sales and marketing director at Stewart Milne Homes, says: “Our Part Exchange initiative is perfect for those looking to sell their home under tight timescales. It’s a really stress-free process that gives buyers the time and opportunity to make plans for their new home without the worry about selling.”
Prices: From £140,995
Find out more at www.stewartmilnehomes.com ; 0845 075 8145
Bleachingfields in Dunbar, East Lothian (Dundas Estates)
This is a development of one- and two-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom cottage flats and three bedroom duplex apartments in one of East Lothian’s most popular seaside towns, around 30 miles east of Edinburgh, and affectionately nicknamed ‘Sunny Dunny’ by locals due to its enviable sunshine record.
Residents are on the doorstep of many interesting locations, including award-winning beaches and many historic sites, and also have a fine range of local amenities, from shops and leisure facilities to excellent schools, including a grammar school within walking distance of Bleachingfields.
The A1 passes the town, with connections to Edinburgh and south along the coast, while rail services from Dunbar station to the capital take as little as 24 minutes.
Prices: From £114,000
Find out more at www.dundas.co.uk ; 0845 005 5009
Cart Meadows in Linwood, Renfrewshire (Barratt Homes)
The housebuilder has now made Part Exchange available on selected plots at this development, with a number of three- and four-bedroom house types now for sale with the help of this scheme. The development comprises 25 homes in all, within easy reach of local amenities and the A737, the link to the M8.
Estelle Sykes, sales director of Barratt Homes in the west of Scotland, said: “With the warmer weather starting to make an appearance, many people will be dreaming of spending the summer sitting in the garden of a brand new home. And with our Part Exchange scheme, they can be doing exactly that at Cart Meadows.”
Prices: From £194,995
Find out more about Cart Meadows from Barratt Homes