Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called for a new fund to support people on buying their first home, after new figures exposed growing challenges in the housing market.
The Scottish Government’s Housing statistics quarterly update, published this week, highlighted the impact the pandemic has had on house building, with the number of new homes completed last summer down by more than a fifth on 2019.
Meanwhile, the UK House Price Index Scotland showed:
- House prices increasing in every Local Authority area bar two, with prices rising by an average of 6.3% since April 2020;
- In April 2021, after the end of the Land & Building Transaction Tax holiday, prices fell back 4.1%
- Price of flats and maisonettes increasing fastest out of all property types, rising by 7.8% in the year to April 2021 to £114,000
- Increases in prices paid by first time buyers are outstripping those paid by former owner occupiers, with first time buyers seeing an annual increase of 6.5%, with prices now at £130,191, compared to former owner occupier sales which saw prices up 6.2% since April 2020.
Jackie Baillie has warned that these trends mean it is harder than ever for first-time and low-income buyers to get on the property ladder, and is calling for the Scottish Government to introduce a new support scheme.
The Scottish Government’s existing scheme for first-time buyers, the First Home Fund, was only open for 5 days before it ran out of funds, after it slashed the budget by two-thirds on the previous year.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
Our local and national housing market was reaching crisis point long before Covid hit, but the shock of the pandemic has left so many people with challenges of a different scale.
“A year of house price rises, while building has stalled, has left first-time and low-income buyers facing a perfect storm.
“Instead of helping young people get a foot on the property ladder, the SNP have pulled it out from under them by slashing support.
“Tackling these problems requires a real long-term plan, but putting proper support in place for first-time and low-income buyers is the bare minimum we should be doing in the meantime.”