Skip to main content

The economic impact of investment in affordable housing

By: Shelter Scotland  Published: December 2015


This paper builds on the recommendations of the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing and sets out the positive economic impact of investment in affordable housing.

Summary

  • A safe, secure and affordable home for everyone: the Scottish Government should increase funding to the affordable housing supply programme to deliver at least 12,000 affordable homes each year over the course of the 2016 – 2021 parliament. The Scottish Government is currently delivering around half this.
  • House building as a driver of economic growth: every £100 million invested in affordable housing supply via both public and private finance generates £210 million of economic output in the wider economy and sustains 1,270 jobs. A housebuilding programme which delivers 12,000 affordable homes per year could sustain up to 19,000 jobs and generate £2.6 billion of economic output.
  • Housing and preventative spend: in addition to being a key driver of economic growth, affordable house building plays a key role in addressing inequality over the long-term. The Scottish Government's approach to housing and homelessness should go hand in hand with policies which seek to address poor health in Scotland. Eradicating overcrowding, dampness, disrepair and fuel poverty all play a key role in reducing inter-generational health inequalities. Affordable housing also provides a stable environment in which policies which target educational attainment, tackling reoffending or reducing poverty are effective.
  • Reducing volatility in the housing market: increased investment in affordable housing should be part of a wider effort to stabilise Scotland's housing market, avoiding the potential of a harmful downturn in Scotland's property market.