The number of new homes built in Scotland in a year has risen to more than 20,000 for the first time in a decade, official figures have revealed.
Completion of newly built homes in 2018 increased by 15% on the previous year, with 20,255 properties constructed.
There was a sharp rise in housing association properties finished last year, with the 3,823 homes completed an increase of 54% on 2017, although local authority completions fell by 11%.
The new figures have been welcomed by the SNP, who said the Scottish Government is on course to meet its target of building 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.
Arguing the party is “building for the future of Scotland”, James Dornan MSP said: “The SNP has made the delivery of new homes a priority since being elected to office in 2007, having delivered almost 90,000 affordable homes since we entered office.
“These new figures show we’re on track to reach our target of at least 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this parliament – backed by £3.3 billion investment.
“In fact, we’ve delivered more council houses than have been built in all of England – not per person but in actual homes built.
“Labour and the Lib Dems have embarrassingly little to show for their time in office and with the Tories presiding over a chronic housing shortage in England it’s clear that only the SNP is taking decisive action to deliver more houses for people in Scotland.”
The last time the number of new builds completed across Scotland exceeded 20,000 was in 2008, with housing organisations saying there have been 80,000 fewer homes than needed built since the economic crash of that year.
Chief executive of industry body Homes for Scotland, Nicola Barclay, warned the country has a “chronic undersupply of housing” and urged MSPs to ensure a planning system that supports housebuilding is part of the Planning Bill going through the Scottish Parliament.
Ms Barclay added: “With previous years’ completions falling well short of our call for a 10% year-on-year increase in output … it is great to see this rise in the number of new homes, providing choice across all tenures for the residents of Scotland.
“We must now build on this solid foundation to ensure that our industry can continue to increase the supply of new homes our growing population needs.”