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English buyers and reopened English housing market drives demand in Scotland

It’s been two weeks since some of the restrictions on the property market were eased in England but Scotland remains in lockdown.

The publication of Scotland’s COVID-19 route map last week stated that “preparing for the safe reopening of the housing market” would be part of Phase 1 and “relaxation of restrictions on housing moves” would be part of Phase 2.

Phase 1 is due to begin on 28th May, and certain criteria must be met before we can progress to Phase 2 – the next formal review will be held on the 18th June.

ESPC has seen steady increases in viewing enquiries, valuation requests, Home Report downloads and web traffic for a few weeks now, but this increase has become more evident since the English market activity resumed.

While these figures are still lower than usual for this time of year, this increase highlights that there remains strong interest in moving home once some of the current restrictions have eased.

In a recent survey of 30 of their members, 23 stated that they had seen an increase in enquiries since news of the English market restrictions being eased.

The remaining seven agents said activity and enquiries remained about the same as before.

Marion Walker, Property Manager at Castle Douglas-based Hewats Solicitors and Estate Agents, said:

“Since the restrictions were lifted in the housing market in England, I have seen a significant increase in enquiries from south of the border.

“The enquiries range from asking about Home Reports to requests to book in person viewings, which are not currently available in Scotland due to lockdown measures.

“Following on from the recent bank holiday, I would say our daily enquires have risen by a good 50% plus, with English buyers commenting that they had always planned to move to the region and the current situation has moved their plans forward.”

Dianne Paterson, Partner at Russell + Aitken, an agent with offices in Edinburgh and Central Scotland, said:

“Although the property market has not ceased completely during lockdown, it is noticeable that, since the regulations were relaxed in England, we have received an increased number of enquiries on both the sale and purchase side.

“Once the regulations in Scotland are relaxed, we anticipate that the Scottish market will be a busy one, fuelled by eager purchasers and sellers, whose plans were put on hold during this period.

“We are expecting an active few months, with both an increased interest in, and availability of, properties for sale.”

Mary McQueen, Partner at McDougal McQueen, an agent which operates in Edinburgh and the Lothians, said:

“There’s definitely been an increase in new buyer enquiries, and viewers who previously enquired getting in touch again as they think in person viewings have resumed in Scotland as well.

“There have also been more enquiries asking for definite and dates when viewings will start.

“The majority of people do appreciate the need for restrictions but are very keen for them to be eased so we can get back to some sort of normality.”

Michael Maloco, Senior Partner of Dunfermline-based Maloco + Associates, said:

“We’ve had two really busy weeks. We’ve done five or six virtual valuations with four listings of the back of these.

“There have been lots of virtual viewings arranged and physical viewings booked in for when they are possible, with 18 bookings for one property alone.

“We may also have at least one closing date next week too.”

Cochran Dickie Estate Agency has noted an increase in enquiries in the west of Scotland since news of some English property market activities resuming. Curtis Chisholm, a director of the firm commented:

“We have a number of enquiries coming in from people looking to view current stock.

“We have one house in Castlehead in Paisley, which went live just before lockdown, that has 58 viewers lined up.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Scottish housing market poised for ‘two waves of bounceback’

Scotland’s housing market is poised for two waves of bounceback with the expectation of a return to pre-coronavirus levels, a leading industry figure has predicted.

The sector has been rocked by stay-at-home and physical distancing measures for agents, surveyors and prospective buyers, combined with a backlog in applications via the Land Register of Scotland service.

However, Paul Denton, the chief executive of the Scottish Building Society, which was established in 1848, said he was starting to see some signs that buyers were looking to life beyond the Covid-19 peak.

“We are still open for business, with our primary focus the health and welfare of our staff and our customers, ensuring we support them financially and emotionally through this time of crisis,” he said.

“We are starting to see signs that buyers are now thinking about life after the Covid-19 peak, with a rise in enquiries on purchase mortgages. And, indeed, our staff are busy processing remortgages, even for those on a mortgage holiday.”

Denton, who represents Scotland on UK Finance’s mortgages board, added: “I think there will be two waves of bounceback. The first, when Registers of Scotland fully reopens and starts clearing the backlog of applications from solicitors. And the second when social isolation measures ease and consumer confidence starts to grow.

“It is clear that the drop in sales volume is driven by social isolation and not a lack of demand from customers.”

New figures show that the average price of a property in Scotland in February was £150,524 – a year-on-year increase of 2.5 per cent, according to statistics from the UK House Price Index. The UK average house price was £230,332 – up 1.1 per cent.

The largest decrease was recorded in the City of Aberdeen, where the average price fell by 3.6 per cent to £143,990. The highest-priced area was the City of Edinburgh, where the average price of a house is £270,864.

Denton added: “These statistics pre-date Covid-19 but reinforce the trend of Scottish house prices rising faster than the rest of the UK as demand outstrips supply. However, there are marked geographical differences too, with the challenges in the oil and gas sector impacting the Aberdeen market.

“Scotland weathered the storm during the 2008 financial crisis. We know this is on a different scale, but the underlying market is resilient and that latent customer demand will see the market bounce back to something near the levels we saw at the beginning of the year.”

By Scott Reid

Source: Edinburgh News

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Scottish Building Society: Lack of supply leading to higher Scottish house price growth

House prices in Scotland are growing faster than the rest of the UK, however, Scottish Building Society chief Paul Denton has warned that demand outstrips supply.

House prices in Scotland are growing faster than the rest of the UK with the average property £154,798 – an increase of 3.5% year on year, according to government House Price Index (HPI) figures released today.

The UK average was £235,298, up 2.2% on November 2018 and an increase of 0.4% on the previous month.

The volume of residential sales in Scotland in September 2019 was 8,628, an increase of 1.8% on the original provisional estimate for September 2018. This compares with an increase of 3.3% in England, 1.3% in Wales and 4.9% in Northern Ireland.

The HPI report says: “Prices vary across Scotland, with the highest-priced area to purchase a property being City of Edinburgh, where the average price was £277,600, and the lowest-priced area being East Ayrshire, where the average price was £95,941.”

Paul Denton, chief executive of Scottish Building Society, said: “The figures relate to November, so it is too early to assess the long-term impact of the General Election result on the Scottish market.

“Many commentators predict economic uncertainty to ease in 2020 with a resultant increase in transactions. However, while consumer confidence is important, demand continues to outstrip supply. We would support any initiative to help people on to the property ladder, including accelerating the number of new homes being built.

“Last month, we became one of the first lenders to take applications from the Scottish Government’s First Home Fund . This will make the housing market fairer by providing £150 million until March 2021 to help 6,000 people buy their first home.”

The UK HPI is calculated based on completed sales at the end of the conveyancing process. This means that while the UK HPI may not be as timely in publishing as the other measures, it is however ultimately more complete with coverage of both cash and mortgage transactions for the whole of the UK.

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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Number of long-term empty properties in Scotland rises for third year in a row

The number of properties and second homes left empty over the long-term in Scotland has risen for the third successive year, a new report has found.

There were to 65,277 domestic addresses lying empty as of September 2019 – a rise of 1,260 properties (two per cent) year-on-year – but slightly lower than the equivalent total of 66,053 properties recorded as of September 2012.

Tackling the number of properties left empty in the long-term has become a priority for Scotland’s 32 councils in recent years, but housing charities have warned more still needs to be done to bring down the total.

The lack of action to tackle the problem was last month branded a “disgrace” by opposition parties, while housing minister Kevin Stewart pledged he would press ahead with compulsory sale orders (CSOs) by the end of the current Parliament in 2021.

While there was a rise in the number of long-term empty properties and second homes, the number of new build homes completed rose by 18% in the year to the end of June 2019.

A total of 21,403 homes were completed in 2019 – 3,210 more than the number of homes completed in 2018.

It is the highest level for completions since 2008.

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is run by Shelter Scotland, said councils faced the challenge of providing support for owners to bring empty properties back into use.

“Most homes become empty due to natural life events such as people dying or moving into residential care,” she said.

“The challenge for local authorities is to provide effective support to owners to bring them back into use so they don’t get stuck empty for years.

“Last year, the combined effort of empty homes officers in 20 local councils in Scotland and our own Empty Homes Advice Service brought back 1,128 homes.

“The latest figures for the current year show that another record-breaking year is in sight.”

Empty homes, abandoned shops, derelict hotels and gap sites could be among those targeted by the introduction of compulsory sale orders which allow councils to force owners to sell such sites at auction.

These differ from compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) as councils don’t have to make the purchase themselves.

Welcoming the increase in the number of new homes completed, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “These figures demonstrate how we are delivering more housing in Scotland.

“From private to social housing, it is encouraging that both new build starts and completions have increased this year, providing more people with a warm, safe place they can call home.

“The increase points to the strength of Scotland’s new build housing sector. We shall continue to push towards our ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.”

By CHRIS MCCALL

Source: Scotsman

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Scottish housing market is surviving despite uncertainty – John Kelly

As we await the result of the ­pre-Christmas general election and what changes this may or may not bring to the position of Scotland in the UK and Europe, it feels like something of a renaissance is afoot.

Although the overall level of confidence in the economy remains fragile, the news is not all doom and gloom. Even with the political and economic uncertainty we have lived through over the last year, house prices in Scotland continued to grow by 1.3 per cent.

The industry body for home building, Homes for Scotland, has highlighted that despite home building numbers eventually falling back to pre-recession levels, there is still a massive shortage of homes. Recent research by Fraser of Allander on behalf of Homes for Scotland showed that house price growth is far from being evenly spread across the country, with Edinburgh and the East showing particularly high growth. In the West of Scotland, areas like Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, where school performance is strong, also showed higher house price growth.

In our experience, and as shown by ­several economic indicators, Glasgow city centre and the West End also continue to be property hotspots. The news that the next stage of the City Development Plan focusing on the Govan, Partick and the Clyde Corridor will be submitted to ­Scottish ministers is welcome and we anticipate this will provide impetus for the property market.

‘Lack of second-hand stock’

Our business is focused on the West of Scotland and, for us, east and north ­Ayrshire has been a significant area for growth, with average transactions rising by 6.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively. Thanks to the improved road network, Ayr and Stewarton are attractive prospects as they are commutable to Glasgow. At the same time the property prices there are more competitive, with buyers getting more square footage and a garden for the same price as a flat in central Glasgow.

The biggest challenge currently is a lack of second-hand residential stock. The influx of new homes projects has helped keep the wheels turning. Projects that were halted are now either completed or well underway in terms of construction and consumers are snapping them up.

We are encouraged to see the Scottish Government’s ambitious net zero emissions target being reflected in many building projects. We are currently marketing City Garden Apartments, a new build of 65 eco-conscious, luxury apartments in Glasgow. Buyers concerned about ­climate change and their carbon footprint can benefit from state-of-the-art energy ­efficiency, electric car charging and an outdoor roof with a bee hotel. New build homes are also attractive to downsizers.

These consumers are moving to more urban locations, nearer restaurants and amenities, into lower maintenance and running cost properties. A ­garden is often replaced by a much more manageable balcony. A good example of an ambitious new project is G3 Square in Finnieston, which we’ve been supporting since the outset, as well as Cathcart House in the south side and the upcoming Fairfields, due to launch in Partick next year.

Another key trend is the number of small to mid-size luxury home developments springing up on the outskirts of Glasgow in areas such as Croftamie and Strathaven. These cater for millennials looking to lay down roots with a family home, who would be otherwise priced out of Glasgow’s “go-to” areas of Newton Mearns, Giffnock and Bearsden.

While life changes, like children or getting married, will happen regardless, there can be no doubt that many potential homebuyers view their next move as discretionary, as opposed to borne out of need. However, we know from lessons of the recession that the property market can survive extreme circumstances. Even though we can all expect more uncertainty, the desire for home ownership is a certainty.

By John Kelly

Source: Scotsman

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Private rental sector ‘not meeting the needs of families’, report finds

Suburban family homes that are specifically built for long-term rent, in places people want to live, should be a strategic part of Scotland’s housing development pipeline, according to a new report from Savills and the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).

Research into the Private Rental Sector (PRS) aimed at Scottish developers, local authority planners and investors, said the long-term option would reduce pressure on all parts of the housing market and provide those living in the rental sector with improved choice and a stronger sense of security.

Karen Campbell, senior associate director at SFT, said: “The financial crash just over ten years ago created a surge in demand for housing in the Private Rental Sector across Scotland from young people and from families with children, and that demand has continued to grow.

“However, limited availability of good quality housing for rent and a growing level of demand are pushing rent levels through the roof in some locations.

“As well as introducing a supply of good quality, professionally managed new build houses for rent that families can call home and relieving affordability pressure in hot spot locations, exciting wider benefits could include the acceleration of house building programmes, the creation of great places and the attraction of additional institutional investment into the Scottish economy.”

Ms Campbell added: “This research which we have published today will be of interest to policymakers, local authorities, developers and investors to help them to understand the huge opportunities that exist to increase the supply of quality houses for rent in suburban Scotland.”

Savills development director, George Hepburne Scott, said: “Scotland is beginning to witness some genuine traction in the delivery of urban flatted Build to Rent developments in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with Savills involved with a number of live transactions in both cities.

“However, there is significant opportunity for institutional investors to help deliver much needed private family housing for rent in well-connected suburban locations, close to schools and other local amenities that families need.

“The findings clearly show that, in the majority of locations, the affordable housing sector is struggling to deliver the scale of housing required.

“Build to Rent family housing has an important role to play in filling that gap.”

He added: “25% of Scottish renters are families and these households are renting from individual private landlords, with varying quality standards. Despite a steady increase in housing need, there has been a significant year-on-year decline in availability of good quality family housing for rent across the central belt.”

393,000 or 15% of households in Scotland are estimated to live in the private rented sector and the number has grown by 155% over 20 years, according to the Scottish Household Survey.

Citylets reports that average rents in Scotland increased by 4.3% over the course of the past year with three and four-bedroom properties seeing growth in excess of this, at 5.4% and 11.4% respectively, reflecting high demand for family accommodation.

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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Scottish house prices projected to rise by nearly 20%

The average house price is predicted to be £35,000 higher in five years as “Brexit and election-related angst” subsides, according to a report.

Savills expects average house prices across the UK to lift from £231,000 in 2019 to £266,000 in 2024 – with the north outperforming those in the south.

There are also signs the prime central London property market could be set
for a bounce, but elsewhere in London growth in house prices is expected to lag behind the rest of Britain.

North-west England is tipped to see the strongest percentage house price growth, with values predicted by Savills to surge by 24 per cent by 2024.

In Scotland and north-east England, house prices are expected to jump
by nearly one-fifth (19.9%) over the same period, while in Yorkshire and
the Humber growth of 21.6% is forecast.

Faisal Choudhry, Savills head of residential research in Scotland, said: “In Scotland, the key fundamentals of quality of life, good schools and economic growth in the hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow will drive local markets, but pricing remains key and sellers will have to be pragmatic.”

Wales will also perform strongly, with house prices expected to increase by around 18%, Savills predicts.

Daniel Rees, head of residential at Savills in Cardiff, said the property market in Wales had “undoubtedly” been helped by the Severn Crossing tolls being abolished in 2018.

He said: “Our forecasts affirm the long-term popularity of Wales as an attractive and affordable place to live and work.”

By contrast, property values in London, where housing affordability is often worse than in other parts of the country, are expected to increase by just 4% by 2024.

House prices in London generally recovered more strongly after the financial crisis than elsewhere, but price growth there has been more subdued in recent years as the affordability of a home has become more stretched.

However, expectations for house price growth in prime central London are more positive.

Savills forecasts that prime central London values will rise 3% next year
– the first annual price growth since 2014 – and increase by 20.5% over the next five years.

Recent falls in the value of sterling mean London’s most expensive properties will start to look relatively good value to those investing from overseas – and a build-up of recent interest from buyers indicates the market is set for a bounce, Savills said.

The firm said that while “Brexit and election-related angst” will generally continue to act as a drag on the market over the short term, house prices are expected to rise broadly in line with incomes thereafter.

It estimates that, while house prices will only increase by around 1% across 2020, 2021 will see a stronger 4.5% bounce.

Savills’ forecasts assume that the General Election on December 12 does not result in a significant shift in the policy environment, that the UK ultimately achieves an orderly exit from the EU over the course of 2020 and avoids recession.They also assume that the bank base rate increases gradually to 2.0% by the end of 2024, constraining mortgage affordability and house price growth.

Source: Herald Scotland

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Scottish housing market has fastest sell time, research says

The time needed to sell homes in Glasgow and Edinburgh is half the average for UK cities, according to a survey.

Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price index for September reveals housing market conditions are strongest north of the border despite Aberdeen being the worst performer.

Glasgow and Edinburgh properties sell within six weeks on average, compared to 12 weeks across the whole of the UK.

Aberdeen was the worst performer, with homes taking more than 15 weeks to sell and sellers discounting their homes by 9.4%.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “There is a continued polarisation in housing market conditions across the country set by underlying market fundamentals, albeit Brexit uncertainty has been a compounding factor for lower market activity in some areas.

“A general election seems to be a growing possibility ahead of any Brexit resolution; however, once the political outlook becomes clearer, we would expect a modest bounce-back in demand for a six–12-month period.

“Market conditions are set to remain weak in southern cities until pricing levels adjust to what buyers are willing, or can afford, to pay.

“London is three years into a re-pricing process, and we expect sales volumes to slowly improve over 2020, while house price growth remains subdued.

“There are large parts of the country where housing affordability remains attractive, fuelled by continued economic growth that supports demand for homes, resulting in reasonable sales periods and only modest gaps between sales and asking prices.”

Glasgow and Edinburgh are also the only UK cities not to register a discount from asking to selling price.

Homes in the two locations instead command an average premium of 6-7% above the asking price.

In contrast, vendors across the UK now accept offers that are on average of 3.8% or £9,800 lower than the initial asking price.

Source: Herald Scotland

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Supply of new housing increases by 15% in 2018-19

Total new housing supply in Scotland (new builds, refurbishments and conversions) increased by 15% in 2018-19, to 22,273 new housing units, or 2,953 more homes than the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual increase in total housing supply, and the highest annual figure since 2008-09.

Two sets of housing statistics have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The Annual Housing Statistics update includes information on total new housing supply in Scotland across all sectors to end March 2019, and on stock by tenure estimates up to end of March 2018, along with information on various elements of local authority housing in 2018-19 such as stock, lettings, house sales, evictions, housing lists, and housing for older people and people with disabilities.

The Quarterly Housing Statistics update includes latest quarterly information on new build housing and affordable housing supply. The affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees. A new section has been added that compares how the level of affordable housing supply per head of population varies between Scotland and other UK countries, to help meet demand for cross country analysis on this.

Key findings from the Annual Housing statistics update:

New housing supply: New housing supply (new build, refurbishment and net conversions) increased by 15% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, from 19,320 to 22,273 new homes.

Housing supply figures include private-led and social sector new builds, as well as conversions and rehabilitations. Housing association new builds increased by 1,041 homes (33%) and private-led new builds increased by 2,679 homes (21%), whilst local authority new builds decreased by 51 homes (3%), refurbishments decreased by 642 homes (67%) and net conversions decreased by 74 homes (10%).

New house building: In 2018-19, 21,292 new build homes were completed in Scotland, an increase of 3,669 homes (21%) on the 17,623 completions in the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of completions since 2007-08. During the same time-period the number of homes started increased by 3,160 homes (16%) from 19,604 to 22,764.

Affordable housing: (As previously reported on 11 June 2019): In 2018-19, there were 9,554 units completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity, an increase of 994 units (12%) on the previous year. Approvals decreased by 547 units (5%) in the latest year to 11,130 in 2018-19, and starts increased by 303 units (3%) to reach 10,872. This activity represents the first three years in the target period to build 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, over the five year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Stock by tenure: As at 31st March 2018, there were an estimated 2.6 million dwellings in Scotland, an increase of 1% (20,000 dwellings) compared to 2017. The number of owner occupier households increased by an estimated 3%, and the number of housing association homes increased by 1%, whilst the number of local authority homes showed little change year on year (0%), and the number of dwellings rented privately (including with a job/business or rent-free) decreased by an estimated 6%.

Sales of local authority dwellings (Right to Buy): Sales of public authority dwellings (including local authorities with total stock transfers) fell by 96% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, to 76. This decrease follows the Right to Buy scheme closing to all new applicants in July 2016. It is expected that sales will continue to fall further in the next year as the number of applications remaining in the system falls closer to zero:

Local authority housing stock: At 31 March 2018, there were 315,625 local authority dwellings in Scotland, an increase of 1,192 units (0.4%) from the previous year, and the first annual increase in local authority stock seen in this time series since 1980.

Vacant stock: Local authorities reported 7,409 units of vacant stock at 31 March 2019, 269 units more than the 7,140 vacant units in the previous year. There were increases in units awaiting demolition (an increase of 141 units), and vacant normal letting stock (an increase of 171 units), with vacant units used as temporary accommodation for the homeless and vacant units in low demand areas showing similar totals to the previous year, and vacant units as part of a modernisation programme falling by 55 units.

Lettings: During 2018-19 there were 26,455 permanent lettings made, an increase of 789 units (3%) compared to 25,666 lettings in the previous year. There were 10,952 lets to homeless households in 2018-19, which equates to 41% of all permanent lets by local authorities.

Evictions: Eviction actions against local authority tenants resulted in 1,440 evictions or abandoned dwellings in 2018-19 (1,007 evictions, 433 abandoned dwellings). This is down 1%, or 20 actions of evictions or abandonments, on the 1,460 in the previous year.

Housing Lists: Household applications held on local authority or common housing register lists increased by 0.4% or 633 households to 158,439 at March 2019, the first annual increase since 2008, although the latest figure is 22% below the 202,235 applications recorded in 2008.

Scheme of assistance: There were 8,655 scheme of assistance grants paid to householders in 2018-19, 394 grants (4%) fewer than in 2017-18. Spend on scheme of assistance grants totalled £28.6 million, around £1.1 million less than in 2017-18. The majority of grants in 2018-19 were for disabled adaptions; 5,458 grants totalling £21.8 million.

Key findings from the Quarterly Housing statistics update to end June 2019

Latest quarterly social sector new build figures up to end June 2019 show that:

between April and June 2019, 856 social sector new build homes were completed (19% less than the 1,060 completions in the same quarter in 2018), and 1,193 were started (5% more than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end June 2019 to 5,378 (a 13% increase on the 4,778 social sector homes completed in the previous year). Total starts over the 12 months to end June 2019 are now at 6,776 (2% more than the 6,611 started in the previous year)
Latest quarterly Affordable Housing Supply figures (new builds, rehabilitations and off-the-shelf purchases) up to end June 2019 show that:

affordable housing supply completions have totalled 9,128, up 7% (633 homes) on the previous year. This includes increases in social rent completions (up by 23% or 1,189 homes) and affordable rent completions (up by 21% or 187 homes), and a decrease in affordable home ownership completions (down 30% or 743 homes)
there were 10,844 affordable housing approvals over the year up to end June 2019, down by 9% or 1,088 homes compared to the previous year. This includes decreases in affordable rent approvals (down 55% or 1,403 homes) and affordable home ownership approvals (down 25% or 620 homes), with an increase in social rent approvals (up 14% or 935 homes)
there were 10,370 affordable houses started in the year to end June 2019, down 2% or 246 homes compared to the previous year. This includes decreases in affordable rent starts (down by 43% or 792 homes), and affordable home ownership starts (down by 10% or 237 homes), but an increase in social rent starts (up 12% or 783 homes)
The affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees.

Background

Note that the new build starts figures quoted in this Statistical News Release contain information on approvals rather than starts for housing associations. This is because the data held on approvals for housing association new builds is considered to be a more robust measure than the data held on starts. An approval is the point in time at which Scottish Government funding is granted through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. Further information on this is available in the explanatory document providing background information on the quarterly statistics.

The Affordable Housing Supply Programme statistics include off-the-shelf purchases and rehabilitations as well as new build.

Social Rent includes Housing Association Rent, Council House Rent as well as Home Owner Support Fund Rent
Affordable Rent includes Mid-Market Rent (MMR), National Housing Trust (NHT) Rent as well as other programmes such as the Empty Homes Loan Fund (EHLF) and Rural Homes for Rent (RHfR)
Affordable Home Ownership includes Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE), New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE), Shared Ownership (LCHO) as well as other programmes such as Home Owner Support Fund Shared Equity
The Housing Statistics for Scotland 2019: Annual Key Trends Summary, which presents information on new house building, public sector house sales, local authority lettings and evictions, stock and vacancy rates, supported housing, housing lists, scheme of assistance and houses in multiple occupation, can be found at this address: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787812307.

The Housing Statistics for Scotland Quarterly Update September 2019, containing details of new house building and the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, can be found at this address: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787812314.

Background information including Excel tables and an explanatory note on the Quarterly Housing Statistics can be found in the Housing Statistics webpages.

Housing Association and most Local Authority led new build activity is funded through Scottish Government funding programmes. Several changes to these funding programmes in recent years have affected both the trends and seasonal quarterly pattern of new build approvals, so care should be taken when making comparisons over time. These same changes will also impact on the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

The supply statistics break down new build construction activity into private-led and social sector starts and completions, with the social sector further broken down between local authority and registered social landlord (housing association). The figures are as recorded by Local Authority administrative systems and the Scottish Government Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) system. Private sector construction activity includes not only homes built for private sale but also some homes which are used in the affordable housing sector and self-build activity by local builders.

Source: Scottish Government

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Savills: Investment in Scottish real estate to reach record high

SCOTLAND has attracted more than £500 million of international capital in the first half of 2019, according to Savills.

The latest research by the international real estate advisor shows that 2019 is now on track to become the best ever recorded year for inward investment in commercial real estate in the country.

Some £575 million of international capital was invested in Scottish commercial property in the first half of 2019, accounting for 49% of all investment in the period and representing the largest share of inward capital since 2016.

Investors from Asia accounted for the largest proportion, channelling more than £240m into Scotland in 2019, surpassing the £180m invested in the whole of 2018. South Korean investors spent more than £200m, investing in some of the largest deals in Scotland. Leonardo Innovation Hub was sold to South Korean investors for £100m, with a 5.9% yield.

European investors also continued to spend heavily on Scottish commercial real estate, with almost £200m invested in the first half of 2019. The largest deal this year was to German investors, who bought 4-8 St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh for £120m, representing a yield of 4.45%.

Head of Savills Scotland Nick Penny said the country’s attractiveness to investors is likely to increase further. “2019 is shaping up to be a record year for inward investment into Scotland,” he said. “Investors are attracted by the strong performance of the economy, record employment and more attractive yields on offer relative to other regional cities in the south east.”

“Recent plans set out by the Government to position Scotland as a forward-looking digital nation by embracing 5G has the potential to enhance Scotland’s global competitiveness and continue to drive inward investment. We are already experiencing a growth in the tech sector, particularly in Edinburgh, and with digital becoming more engrained in business processes and procedures, having a fast and reliable digital infrastructure will become increasingly vital for businesses.”

Overseas investors accounted for more than three quarters (79%) of investment, according to the latest data from Savills. The second quarter was particularly active as more than £400m of deals were completed, four times the amount in the first quarter.

Offices proved to be the most popular sector in the first half of the year with £494m transacted.

Overall, Edinburgh witnessed the highest level of investment in Scotland. A total of £316m in investment was generated through six deals, compared with five in the first half of 2018.

Glasgow and Aberdeen achieved £128m and £50m of office investment respectively. Key deals during H1 included 110 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. Savills sold the site for £48m, reflecting a 5.4% yield. Meanwhile, AB1 on Huntly Street, Aberdeen, was purchased for £13.5m, with an 8% yield, also advised by Savills.

Penny, concluded: “The fundamentals of the office market remain strong. Edinburgh is proving particularly popular due to the combination of a robust occupational market and restricted supply of high quality office space which has led to rental growth in the city. This environment is creating significant demand for office buildings with international investors that want to secure long-term income at attractive yields.”

Source: The National