Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed new figures that show the number of second homes in Scotland have reduced over the past six years, which industry experts have partly attributed to taxation.
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said she hopes this frees up more houses for first-time buyers and local residents, particularly in rural areas across her constituency where housing remains a pressing challenge.
Scottish Government figures show that the number of second homes in Scotland stood at 40,599 in 2012, but in September 2018 (the latest available figures) it had drastically reduced to 24,907. Over the same period second homes in the Highlands dropped from 4,520 to 3,891.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “These figures are excellent news for the Highlands, where there is a housing challenge in the Highlands. This has been significantly exacerbated by second homes.
“In some villages, like Plockton, there are very few homes left which are not used as holiday homes. This has absorbed housing stock, making it harder for local residents and first-time buyers to stay in the area.
“The Scottish Government introduced additional taxes on second homes, and these figures show that it is freeing up housing and reducing the number of second homes.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: “Just last week, we increased the additional dwelling supplement by a percentage again and I hope this continues to free up homes for local residents.
“This has to go hand-in-hand with house-building too, because there is not one single solution.
“The Scottish Government has a target of 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament and there are hundreds of new homes being built in my constituency as part of this.”