Aberdeen City Council has pledged to invest more than £40 million to build new council homes as well buy back former local authority properties. The plan aims to build 2,000 affordable houses, a significant addition to the current 22,000 council homes in the city.
Speaking about the rationale behind the move, Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing explains, “Housing, both in terms of quality and quantity, is fundamental to our vision for Aberdeen and a place where everyone can prosper.”
The proposed budget covers the approval for a contract that would kick-start the development of 369 homes at Summerhill. There are also plans to build 389 houses in Craighill, Kincorth, and Tillydrone, while 350 houses will be constructed in one of two chosen areas in Greenferns.
Prior to the project, a similar development has just been completed in Smithfield. The area saw the addition of three- and four-bedroom semi-detached properties, as well as one and two-bedroom flats, all of which cost a total of £13 million.
While the latest proposal was met with unanimous praise, infrastructure spokesman Steve Delaney nonetheless reminded the council to also make efforts to maintain existing council houses. He mentioned that he wants to avoid “a situation where people are moving into new builds and rejecting our existing stock of homes.”
These are all welcome developments to Aberdeen’s housing market. While the UK’s residential housing market has seen prices drop in recent years, the city seems to be bucking the trend, as highlighted in a previous Aberdeen Business News report. In fact, residential property sales in Granite City saw a 7.9% increase last year, the first time in two years. This is in contrast to the most recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report, which indicated the biggest price drop in the national real estate market since June 2019. The situation is expected to continue, or even worsen as Brexit draws closer. Based on the data taken from FXCM’s Economic Calendar, the RICS presented its latest report regarding the strength of the UK housing market on March 14, 2019. All signs still point to a bearish trend. With Aberdeen’s housing market showing unusual signs of activity, and with the City Council lending a hand in the city’s housing revitalisation, the hope is that other big cities will follow their lead.
All in all, this recent upturn has been met with a lot of positivity in the city. Especially in light of the growing concerns around Brexit. The long-term investment plans that are being laid out by the city, as well as favourable changes in the international energy industry, can provide the much-needed cushion for what many think will be a bumpy road ahead for the UK as a whole.
AUTHOR BIO: Nick Landry has worked in the property industry as a real estate agent before transferring to the public sector as an assistant in infrastructure projects. He is also an avid long-distance cyclist, and advocates for safer and better bike lanes in cities.
This post is written in collaboration with Nick Landry