THE number of new homes completed in Edinburgh has dropped by 16 per cent in the past year, despite an increase in Scotland as a whole.
And the Capital’s current rate of house building is falling dramatically short of the projected rise in demand.
Whenever the council advertise vacancies, there are hundreds of applications for each one”Cllr Ricky Henderson
The statistics, set out in a housing market bulletin produced by property firm Rettie, showed the volume of houses completed in the Capital dropped from 1370 in 2013/14 to just 1152 in 2014/15. That compares with an overall increase of nine per cent in new homes across Scotland.
The bulletin also spelled out how the 1152 new homes a year now being built in Edinburgh comes nowhere near meeting the projected annual 3526 rise in the number of households in the city over the next two decades.
Midlothian, however, topped the table, building 640 houses a year – more than twice the projected 311 annual increase in households.
John Boyle, director of research at Rettie, said one of the problems was that many proposed developments given the go-ahead in the Capital were no longer financially viable.
He said: “In 2004/05, Edinburgh was building between 2000 and 2500 homes a year, but now it’s 1100 to 1200.
He said the Waterfront, for example – where huge new housing developments were planned – had been viable in 2007, but when the economic crash hit and prices collapsed, the sums for the developers no longer added up.
Councillor Ricky Henderson, convener of health, social care and housing, said it was widely recognised there was a need for more housing in Edinburgh and the most desperate demand was for affordable homes.
“People are struggling to get their first tenancy or first house,” he said. “Whenever the council or housing associations advertise vacancies, there are hundreds of applications for each one.
“We are working hard to deliver 1600 homes a year over the next ten years. It appears to be some of the private sector builders who are struggling to deliver and that is further complicated by the Local Development Plan.”