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Home ownership a ‘distant dream’ amid rising prices and flat wages – Labour

Scottish Labour has warned soaring house prices and stagnating wages means many Scots cannot afford their own home (PA)
Scottish Labour has warned soaring house prices and stagnating wages means many Scots cannot afford their own home (PA)

Home ownership is now a “distant dream” for many Scots as house prices soar against stagnating wage rises, Labour has said.

Figures from the UK House Price Index show the average house in Scotland shot up by more than £11,000 in two years – from £150,794 in 2019 to £161,855 last year.

Meanwhile, the median wage has fallen slightly by £181 – a 0.5% drop, Scottish Labour said.

Last year’s average wage was £31,659 compared to £30,000 in 2019, according to Nomis, which provides official labour market statistics.

Labour’s housing spokesman Mark Griffin condemned the “out of reach” housing market as rising prices outpace wage growth.

He urged the Scottish Government to develop a plan to help struggling Scots afford their own home in the face of rising rent costs and soaring social housing waiting lists.

House prices have almost trebled since 2002, with the average price rising by more than £100,000 – a 175% increase.

But over the same period, wages rose by just £12,500 – or 66%.

Mr Griffin said: “For far too many people, home ownership is becoming a distant dream as the yawning gulf between house prices and earnings grows by the day.

“Scotland’s broken housing market has been spiralling out of control for years while the SNP failed to act, instead letting things escalate to crisis point.

“We see spiralling house prices, soaring private rents and shameful social housing waiting lists.

“Every part of Scotland’s housing market is creaking under the weight of SNP incompetence.

“We need a real plan to stop a generation of Scots being frozen out of home ownership, and to make sure that everyone has a safe, secure home.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the country continued to “be a good place to buy a first home, with the average first-time buyer spending nearly £100,000 less for a property than in England”.

“We are supporting home ownership through our ‘Lift’ scheme, which helps people on low-to-moderate incomes to buy their first home and our first-time buyer relief for land and buildings transaction tax has the effect of raising the nil-rate threshold from £145,000 to £175,000, saving first-time buyers up to £600,” the spokesman said.

He added: “Scotland has led the way in the delivery of affordable housing across the UK with more than 108,100 affordable homes delivered since 2007, over 75,000 of which were for social rent.

“We want to ensure everyone has a warm, affordable home that meets their needs, which is why we have committed to delivering another 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70% will be available for social rent and 10% will be in our remote, rural and island communities.”

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