New affordable homes have been delivered across four sites in Scotland, thanks to a diverse development collaboration between Lochaber Housing Association and The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust.
The new properties are part of a development programme between the two associations, who share the aim of building 40 diverse new homes every year, to address housing shortages within rural Highland areas.
The partnership successfully incorporates LHA’s social rented housing and affordable ownership properties (LIFT), with HSCHT’s Rent to Buy and self-build options, providing much needed variety within the local housing supply.
A total of 20 new homes have been completed: three social rentals in Kilchoan; eight social rental and two LIFT scheme properties in Lochyside; a two bedroom Rent to Buy property in Mallaig, and six new homes in Strontian, as well as a serviced plot for self-building.
Further developments are currently underway in several other Lochaber locations, helping to regenerate neighbourhoods and bringing new homes to those areas most in need.
In November, Scottish Government showed its support for custom build with the announcement of a new £4 million self-build loan fund, to encourage self-build schemes. The Highland Self-Build Loan Fund will allow successful applicants to borrow up to £175,000 to help fund their self-build projects.
Chief Executive of Lochaber Housing Association, Blair Allan, commented: “Scottish Government financial support for increasing the number of new affordable homes throughout Scotland is at unprecedentedly high levels.
“We are committed to doing our utmost, in conjunction with the Highland Council, to take up all the available funding in Lochaber where, as everyone knows, the need for good quality truly affordable is so high.”
Ronnie MacRae, Chief Executive Officer of HSCHT, added: “The Rent to Buy Scheme is a low-cost home ownership scheme which provides households with the opportunity to rent and then purchase their homes with the aid of a loyalty cash-back amount for their mortgage deposit.
“The scheme has proved extremely popular and has Scottish Government loan funding secured for around sixty homes, spread throughout various communities over a three year period.”
Kevin Stewart, Scottish Minister for Housing, commented: “The Scottish Government encourages the use of different housing models and these practical examples of rural housing, backed by our affordable housing supply programme, low-cost home ownership scheme (LIFT), as well as our Highland Rent to Buy Scheme and self-build pilots, has given people who might not otherwise have been able to afford their own homes the opportunity to get on the housing ladder.
“Last year we also launched of a £25m Rural Housing Fund which will also provide an estimated 500 new affordable homes for Scotland in rural areas over the next three years by helping with the building of new homes and the refurbishment of existing buildings.”
Words: Jen Grimble; Photo: The completed Homes at School Road, Strontian, courtesy of hscht.co.uk