MARKET EVIDENCE DATABASE
Q. Will Local Authorities be able to get access to the Market Evidence Database?
A. The Scottish Government Communities Analytical Services Division now have access to the Market Evidence Database, however due to a turnover in staffing and the fact that this is their busiest period of the year in terms of publications they have not been able to assess its quality. Assessing the quality of this data and taking steps to disclosure control it will be one of the main priorities for the Housing Statistics Team between now and the end of 2009.
Q. Can you provide further guidance on measuring the need for market housing?
A. Stage 3 within Chapter 3 of the Housing Need and Demand Assessment Guidance (2008) discusses using market evidence to assess key factors affecting the demand for market housing. Table 3.3 signposts various sources of information on market activity, while the remainder of the Chapter outlines the steps that Partnerships should take to improve their understanding about changes in demand over time.
Partnerships should note that demand is not a fixed quantity and will vary with changing economic and market conditions. It will be important in the current economic climate not to underestimate market demand and supply by using current depressed levels of market activity as an indicator of underlying demand.
Q. Can you clarify the approach to projecting and quantifying the supply of market houses?
A. Partnerships should continue to project and quantify the supply of market housing in accordance with the Housing Need and Demand Assessment Guidance (2008). The Guidance confirms that the available supply of market housing is that currently advertised for sale or for rent.
Partnerships should note that not all properties are advertised or let through estate or letting agents. Many housebuilders use their own sales staff and they should be asked to provide appropriate information. Private Landlords Forums provide a useful source of information on supply in the private rented sector.
Where data are available, Partnerships should consider the current level of available supply alongside historical trends.
Q. Can you provide an indication of the impact of the economic downturn on the level of private house building?
A. Data from the Scottish Government show 20,011 new starts in Scotland in 2008/09, 26% lower than the 26,930 in 2007/08. Over the same period, new completions fell by 17%, from 25,784 to 21,384.
The decline was driven by a large fall in private sector activity. Private sector new starts were 30% lower in 2008/09 compared to the year before, while private sector new completions were 24% lower.
Data on private new build starts and completions, by local authority area are available from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/NewBuildPrivate. Data on housebuilding are also available from NHBC. A full breakdown of new homes registered in Scotland by Council from August to October 2009 is available from http://www.nhbc.co.uk/NewsandComment/UKnewhouse-buildingstatistics/Year2009/Name,39377,en.html.
Housing land audits also provide a valuable source of information for Partnerships. In addition to recording annual housing completions, they contain detailed information on the programming of sites over the following 7 years.
Q. Where can I get more information on modelling?
A. Partnerships should refer to the Scottish Government's Methodology Glossary ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About/Methodology/Glossary) which provides a useful quick reference guide for people who may not be familiar with statistical methodologies. Tier 1 contains a section on statistical modelling. This provides a brief introduction to the concept of statistical modelling and outlines some examples of situations where modelling is currently used.