A Highland housing association has confirmed its intention to become a housing developer of scale once again, announcing plans to build over 700 affordable homes over the next five years.
Albyn Housing Society will build 500 social rented, 100 mid-market rent and 125 new LIFT shared equity homes. It will also continue to deliver Help to Buy on behalf of the Scottish Government.
By 2020 Albyn hopes to have an estate of over 3,500 social rented homes stretching from Newtonmore to Thurso and Dyke to Applecross, an increase of 20 per cent.
Chief executive Calum Macaulay welcomed the SNP’s pledge of £3 billion to build 50,000 affordable homes across Scotland during the next parliament, announced by Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP Conference last week. He said:
“After more than a few years of very limited development of new homes we are now in a position to build a significant number of desperately needed affordable homes once again. However it will be some time until we are at the level we were in 2008, when we built 350 homes a year.
“It is estimated 1750 new affordable homes are needed each year across the region, with 7000 people listed on the Highland Housing Register.
“Up until the start of this decade Albyn Housing Society along with other housing associations in the Highlands were important developers, providing homes and supporting many construction jobs. But public sector investment cuts and the tightening of private sector lending meant it became a struggle to build a fraction of past numbers.
“Last week’s announcement, coupled with the increasing willingness of banks to lend means we can once again help support communities in the Highlands by making sure there is the right mix of homes.
“We are currently working with the Highland Council and Scottish Government on planning where in the region we will build, but priority areas are likely to include Inverness, Easter Ross, Badenoch & Strathspey and around Loch Ness.”