Section 4 – Housing Flows
4.1 Social housing lets
Chart 4.1 and Table 4.1 below show the number of social rented housing lets in Scotland each year from 2013/14 to 2015/16. In 2015/16 there were a total of 54,009 social rented housing lets, a slight drop of 419 lets, or 1%, on the 54,428 lets in 2014/15. This was driven by a drop of 748, or 3%, in local authority lets, whilst housing association lets increased by 329 lets, or 1%.
Lets have fallen by 6% between 2013/14 to 2015/16, with local authority lets falling by 8% and housing association lets dropping by 4%.
The number of lets figures presented exclude any mutual exchanges, which is when two tenants who both live in the social sector agree to exchange homes and tenancies. There were a total of 3,911 social sector mutual exchanges in 2015/16 (Scottish Housing Regulator Charter data), which equates to around 7% of all social housing lets in that year.
The percentage split of the number of lets by local authorities and housing associations has remained fairly constant over the last three years. In both 2013/14 and 2014/15, 50% of lets were by local authorities and 50% by housing associations. This changed slightly in 2015/16 to 49% of lets from local authorities, 51% from housing associations. This is despite local authorities having 53% of all social rented housing stock as at March 2015.
Chart 4.1: Number of social housing lets per
year, 2013/14 to 2015/16
Table 4.1: Number of social rented housing lets each year, 2013/14 to 2015/16
|Local Authorities||Housing Associations||Total||% Local Authority||% Housing Association|
|Change 2014/15 to 2015/16||-748||329||-419|
|Change 2014/15 to 2015/16 (%)||-3%||1%||-1%|
|Change 2013/14 to 2015/16||-2,421||-1,148||-3,569|
|Change 2013/14 to 2015/16 (%)||-8%||-4%||-6%|
Source: Scottish Government Housing Statistics for Scotland and Scottish Housing Regulator Charter Indicator data
4.2 Lets by source category
The proportion of social housing lets by source category has remained fairly constant over the last three years from 2013/14 to 2015/16. Just under half (47%) of all social housing lets during 2015/16 were to housing list applicants (note that this figure excludes existing tenants who were on a housing list), 31% of lets related to homeless applicants, and 19% of lets were to existing social tenants.
Chart 4.2: Percentage of social housing lets during the
reporting year by source of let , 2013/14 to 2015/16
There are differences in the proportion of lets by source category between local authorities and housing associations.
In 2015/16, 41% of lets by local authorities were to housing list applicants (where applicants were not already existing tenants), 38% were to homeless applicants and 21% were to existing tenants. This compares to 52% of lets by housing associations being to housing list applicants, 17% being to existing tenants and 24% being as a result of homeless applicants.
Chart 4.3: Percentage of local authority lets during the
reporting year by source of let, 2013/14 to 2015/16
Homeless applicants apply to a local authority to be assessed and if they are assessed as statutorily homeless or potentially homeless then the local authority has a legal duty to provide permanent housing. They may then be nominated to a housing association to be housed. If the housing association is not able to provide permanent housing within six weeks it can decline the nomination. The percentage of accepted housing nominations for homeless applicants is shown in Chart 4.4 below in the category "homeless applicants". Nominations to housing associations from local authorities for reasons other than homelessness are counted in the category "other nominations from local authorities".
Chart 4.4: Percentage of housing association lets during
the reporting year by source of let, 2013/14 to 2015/16
The level of new intake into social housing during a reporting year can be calculated by adding up the social rented housing lets from all sources but excluding those to existing tenants and mutual exchanges. In 2015/16, the total number of new intake lets by local authorities was 20,743, equating to 79% of all local authority lets. In the same year there were 23,061 new intake lets by housing associations, equating to 83% of all housing association lets.
4.3 General needs and supported housing lets
The majority of social rented housing lets in the last three years have been for general needs housing. In 2015/16, 85% of all lets were general needs lets. Split by provider, 89% of local authority lets and 81% of housing association lets were general needs lets. The proportions of general needs lets have decreased slightly over the last three years for both local authority lets and housing association lets (from 92% to 89% and from 86% to 81%, respectively), with the proportions of supported housing lets increasing over the same period (from 8% to 11% for local authority lets and from 14% to 19% for housing association lets).
In the same year, 11% of local authority lets and 19% of housing association lets were related to supported housing. The number of supported housing lets is based on the type of property that the let involves. It does not measure the number of people with supported housing needs. Supported housing includes sheltered or very sheltered housing, medium dependency housing, wheelchair housing, ambulant disabled and other specially adapted housing.
Chart 4.5: Number of lets during reporting year, by general
needs and supported housing, 2013/14 to 2015/16
Table 4.2: Number of lets during reporting year, by general needs and supported housing, 2013/14 to 2015/16
|Local Authorities||Housing Associations|
|General needs lets||23,752||23,159||22,392||24,943||22,699||22,505|
|Supported housing lets||1,956||2,551||2,779||3,956||4,723||5,246|
|General needs lets (%)||92%||90%||89%||86%||83%||81%|
|Supported housing lets (%)||8%||10%||11%||14%||17%||19%|
Sources: Scottish Government Housing Statistics for Scotland, Scottish Housing Regulator Charter Indicator data
4.4 Length of time at current address
Social rented households in Scotland in 2015 had been at their current address for an average of 10 years, a shorter average time than in 1999 (12 years). In 2015, 13% of social renters had been at their address for less than one year, an increase compared to 9% in 1999. In 2015, 14% of social renters had been at their current address for over 20 years, a drop from 20% in 2009.
Chart 4.6: Length of time at current address of social
renters (random adult in household), 1999, 2007 and 2015
Housing association households in 2015 had been at their address for an average time of 9 years, less than the average time of 12 years for local authority households. Only 10% of housing association households had been resident at their address for over 20 years, compared with 18% of local authority households.
Chart 4.7: Length of time at current address of social
renters (random adult in household) 2015, by social
Households in other tenures showed different patterns of length of tenure in 2015. Private rented households had on average been at their address for only 3 years, with 43% of households having been at their address for less than one year. Households who were buying with a mortgage had on average been at their address for 11 years, with 29% having been at their property for between 10 and 20 years. Households who owned outright had on average been living at their property for 22 years, with 50% having lived at their address for over 20 years.
Chart 4.8: Length of time at current address (random adult
in household) 2015, by tenure
4.5 Vacant normal letting stock
The Scottish Housing Regulator collects Charter Indicator data on the amount of vacant normal letting stock (also referred to as "voids"). The vacant period commences on the first day that there is no rent debit and ends the day before a new rent debit is raised. Some empty properties are not included in the count of vacant dwellings, for example properties that are going to be demolished or are awaiting or undergoing a modernisation project.
Chart 4.9 and Table 4.3 below show the number of normal letting stock vacant properties in Scotland as at the end of March each year from 2013/14 to 2015/16, split by local authorities and housing associations. There were 6,561 normal letting stock vacant properties at the end of 2015/16, a drop of 686 properties, or 9%, on the 7,247 vacant properties as at end of 2014/15. The 6,561 vacant properties represents 1.1% of all lettable stock, a slight drop from 1.2% in the previous year.
The amount of stock vacant for more than 6 months provides an indication of how many properties are vacant for more prolonged periods of time. Out of the vacant normal social housing letting stock at the end of 2015/16, 16% had been vacant for more than 6 months, a total of 1,034 properties which is a drop of 338 or 25% on the previous year. Normal letting stock vacant for more than 6 months equates to 0.2% of total lettable stock.
Chart 4.9: Vacant normal dwelling stock - number
Table 4.3: Number of normal letting stock properties vacant ("voids") at the end of March each year, and of those the number vacant for more than 6 months
|Local Authorities||Housing Associations||All Social Rented Housing|
|All vacant stock||4,767||4,571||4,109||2,470||2,676||2,452||7,237||7,247||6,561|
|Vacant >6 months||1,025||869||574||449||503||460||1,474||1,372||1,034|
|Total lettable stock||311,149||310,888||309,676||271,194||273,961||275,039||582,343||584,849||584,715|
|All vacant stock (%)||1.5%||1.5%||1.3%||0.9%||1.0%||0.9%||1.2%||1.2%||1.1%|
|Vacant >6 months (%)||0.3%||0.3%||0.2%||0.2%||0.2%||0.2%||0.3%||0.2%||0.2%|
Source: Scottish Housing Regulator Charter Indicator data
4.6 Length of time properties are empty before being let
Chart 4.10 below shows the average number of calendar days that a property was empty for before being re-let.
Local authority properties were on average empty for 41.5 calendar days before being re-let in 2015/16, a figure the same as in 2014/15 but slightly higher than in 2013/14 (39.4 days).
Housing association properties were on average empty a shorter period of time than local authority dwellings. Housing association properties were on average empty for 29.0 calendar days before being re-let in 2015/16, a figure lower than in 2014/15 (32.0 days) and 2013/14 (31.7 days).
Chart 4.10: Average number of calendar days
property was empty for before re-let
4.7 Adults at social housing addresses for less than one year – Tenure of previous address
When looking at social rented households in Scotland in which an adult had moved into the address within the last 12 months in 2015 (which includes new-lets as well as changes to existing household compositions), it can be seen that nearly half of adults (46%) had a previous address which was also social rented; 25% had a previous address that was their parental/family home, whilst 17% had a previous address that was rented privately.
Table 4.4: Adults who have moved address in the last 12 months, 2015 - Current tenure, by tenure of previous address (column percentages)
|Tenure of previous address:||Local Authority||Housing Association||Social Housing||Private Rented||Buying with Mortgage||Owned Outright|
|Buying with help of loan/mortgage||5||7||6||8||39||19|
|In parental/family home||27||22||25||24||20||16|
Source: Scottish Household Survey data
Applying these figures to the estimated 120,000 adults who moved address into social housing in 2015 produces the estimated numbers of adults moving into social housing by previous tenure in the table below. For example it is estimated that 60,000 adults moved into a social rented household from another social rented address, 30,000 adults moved into social housing from their parental/family home, and 20,000 adults moved into social housing from a private rented property.
Note that these are broad estimates only given the sample sizes used in the analysis, and therefore have been rounded to the nearest 10,000 to reflect this.
Table 4.5: Estimated number of adults who moving into social housing in 2015, by previous tenure
|Estimated number of adults in social housing 2015 (millions)||0.91|
|Percentage of adults in social housing in 2015 who moved into their property in the last 12 months||13.38%|
|Estimated number of adults in 2015 who moved into their social rented property in the last 12 months||120,000|
|Estmated number of adults moving into social housing by previous tenure, 2015: (numbers are approximate only, and have been rounded to the nearest ten thousand)|
|Buying with help of loan/mortgage||10,000|
|In parental/family home||30,000|
Sources: Scottish Household Survey data and social housing stock figures have been used to estimate the total number of adults in social housing
4.8 Reasons for moving to local area
The Scottish Household Survey asks respondents to select their main reasons for moving to their local area from a given list of suggested answers. The following analysis covers the most common four reasons selected by social rented households.
The most common reason given in 2015 by 32% of social rented households was that they had moved to their local area because of a change in family or household circumstances or due to leaving home, and this percentage has stayed relatively constant across the years 2012 to 2015. Social rented households in 2015 also said that they had moved to their local area for the right size or kind of property (22%), to be near family or friends (9%), and because they had no choice for example being allocated by social housing providers or due to eviction (9%).
Chart 4.11: Main reasons for moving to area - social rented
households, 2012 to 2015
Local authority households in 2015 were more likely to have stated that they had moved to their area due to a change in circumstances or leaving home (36%) than housing association households (27%).
Chart 4.12: Main reason for moving to area - social rented
households, 2015, by landlord
Households buying with mortgage (33%) and owned outright (30%) were more likely to have stated that they moved to their area for the right size or kind of property than social rented households (22%) or private rented households (19%).
Chart 4.13: Main reason for moving to area, 2015, by
When looking at social rented households in Scotland in which an adult has moved into the address within the last 12 months (which includes new-lets as well as changes to existing household compositions), there were similar percentages stating the four main reasons for moving when compared to all social rented households. This would suggest that there is little difference in the reasons for moving to the local area between newly formed households and more established households.
Chart 4.14: Social rented households - main reason for
moving to area - where an adult has moved into the address within
the last 12 months, 2013 to 2015
Email: Esther Laird