The value of homes built and now fully occupied across the Scotland-wide National Housing Trust (NHT) programme has surpassed the £100 million mark and is benefiting many local SMEs working across the construction sector.
Managed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), NHT is an award-winning programme aimed at delivering affordable-rent housing.
Since its launch in late 2010, contracts have been signed to build over 1,250 NHT homes at 32 locations across 10 local authority areas.
Marking the £100 million milestone, Gary and Nicola McIntosh and their two children are the latest family to take keys to their new NHT property situated on a small development in Kiltarlity near Inverness, built for the Highland Housing Alliance by local SME William Gray Construction and managed by the Highland Housing Alliance.
Christa Reekie, commercial director at SFT, explained: “The total value of homes being built across the NHT programme has reached nearly £200 million. However, the real and tangible value of the programme is that hundreds of people are now living in quality, affordable-rent homes and is allowing construction to start which is benefiting many SMEs across the country, just like Highland Housing Alliance and William Gray Construction.
“SFT and the Scottish Government designed NHT for Scotland's local authorities to use to increase the supply of affordable-rent homes in areas where there is demand. Highland Council has fully embraced the NHT initiative with contracts signed to build 167 homes, with just over half of them now built and occupied.”
Willie Gray, managing director of William Gray Construction, said: “We’re a local construction company building quality homes for local families and the NHT programme came along at a very opportune time when the housing sector was in recession. It helped us to start on sites that might not otherwise have got off the ground. This programme has been a great thing for the housing sector and we’d be happy to be involved in any future programmes.”
Mrs Nicola McIntosh stated: “Naturally, we’re absolutely delighted to have moved into this wonderful new home, which is considerably cheaper than where we lived before. Plus with an energy efficient heating system, solar panels on the roof and well insulated walls, our fuel bills will be halved. Importantly, moving into this home will help us get onto the property ladder which is the real bonus for us.”
Gail Matheson from the Highland Housing Alliance, stated: “The NHT project has boosted the provision of good quality new homes in Inverness and surrounding areas, bringing much needed rental accommodation with the option to buy to local families. The project allows people to rent properties on short assured tenancies for a minimum period of five years at a mid-market rent after which tenants can buy their homes. This allows people time to save a deposit for a mortgage which is one of the big stumbling blocks in securing finance. We have had an overwhelming response to this round of homes.”
Allan Maguire, head of property partnerships at The Highland Council, said: “The Highland Council is delighted to continue to support the NHT programme which is delivering high quality energy efficient affordable rented homes throughout the highlands and giving people the opportunity to purchase their own homes at a later date.”
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “With the value of homes being built as part of the NHT initiative standing at nearly £200 million, it’s clear that NHT is having a hugely positive impact on the construction sector and the wider Scottish economy.
“Not only is NHT providing a significant economic boost, but it is also offering people and families the chance to rent a new home at affordable rates, and I have met tenants all over Scotland who are delighted with their new, high quality homes.
“The initiative continues to go from strength to strength, and is on track to deliver over 2,000 much needed new homes in communities across the country – all for very little taxpayers’ money."