Generous supply of housing land evidenced
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have a very healthy supply of land available for the construction of new homes, a position which will last for many years to come, according to the 2014 Housing Land Audit.
The report, agreed by the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) and prepared in partnership with infrastructure providers and house builders, identifies land for almost 50,000 homes across the area (a 172% increase since 2011). Build-rates are forecast to return to pre-recession levels during 2014 and then reach record levels for each of the next six years at least. It also shows thousands of homes programmed beyond 2021. This level of housing construction is well ahead of the rest of Scotland.
Councillor Ramsay Milne, Chair of the SDPA, welcomed the generous supply of land for housing in the area, while criticising recent statements by developers suggesting that the supply of land was constraining the economy.
Councillor Milne said: "Scottish Government planning policy dictates that a minimum effective supply of five years' worth of land should be maintained at all times. The Housing Land Audit shows that we have considerably more than that available. The five year effective supply across the whole area has increased by 6% from last year. This increase reflects the progress being made in bringing forward allocated sites from the two Local Development Plans.
"More than 3,300 homes are expected to be built next year in Aberdeen City and Shire a level not seen since current records began in 1981. This is reflective of the economic growth being experienced by the area and the fact that it is an excellent place to live and do business."
Vice-chair Councillor Peter Argyle added: "Both Aberdeen City and Shire councils have up-to-date Local Development Plans and are now reviewing these in line with the Strategic Development Plan. This is a significant achievement, with Aberdeen City and Shire being the only city region with a fully up-to-date development plan."
Strategic Development Plan manager David Jennings said: "With up-to-date strategic and local development plans, the area is well placed to meet the challenges of a growing population and dynamic economy. There is probably no area in the whole of the UK which can evidence such a healthy position a combination of a fast-growing economy and up-to-date and visionary planning."
House prices and rental values in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have been rising over recent years due to the strength of demand and the fact that housing transactions and new house completions are still lagging 12% below pre-recession levels due to wider market and financial factors. However, the number of house sales in the rest of Scotland is still 32% below pre-recession levels.
National Planning Framework 3, published by the Scottish Government last Monday, identified Aberdeen City and Shire as projected to be the fastest growing area of Scotland over the next 25 years. It also identified affordable housing as a strategic priority for the area, mirroring the priority attached to these issues locally and the bold plans to address them.
The meeting also considered the approval of the Strategic Development Plan by Scottish Ministers at the end of March 2014, replacing the Aberdeen City and Shire Structure Plan (2009).