The number of first-time buyers in Scotland has risen to its highest level in five years, with 6,500 new homeowners taking out loans between April and June, according to figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
This suggests that measures taken by the UK Government to improve the availability of loans has begun to return buoyancy to the wider housing market, with more individuals successfully securing a mortgage for their first home and overall home moves also on the rise.
This is particularly true for Scotland, where comparatively lower prices than in the UK as a whole mean that first-time buyers find themselves needing to borrow less to get their foot on the property ladder.
However, this positive news is set against a worrying downward trend in the number of homes being completed - which in Scotland has dropped by 14% in the past year and overall has fallen from a peak of 22,444 in 2004/05 to only 9,594 last year. Completions of affordable homes also fell by 13% last year, despite nearly 185,000 applications for homes being held by councils.
Philip Hogg, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, recently said the country is "mired in a housing crisis; we need to see the Scottish government's promised £120m shared equity scheme launched as soon as possible." It is hoped that the launch of this “Help to Buy” Scheme in Scotland will both help house buyers and stimulate the construction industry, creating growth within the house building sector.
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