Scottish Greens have welcomed progress in reducing the number of people owning second homes in Scotland but called for more action to address growing numbers of empty homes.

Figures out today show a 2.83% year-on-year drop in second homes – down more than a quarter from 2008 levels. However the number of homes sitting empty has grown by 21% since 2008, with 83,435 empty homes in 2018. In Edinburgh the number of empty homes is up 6% year-on-year, and in the Highlands it is up by 12%.

Andy Wightman MSP, the Scottish Greens’ housing spokesperson, said:

“People are crying out for affordable housing, yet we have a total of over 100,000 empty and under-used second homes across Scotland. It’s incredulous that the proportion of empty homes is rising and astonishing that not all councils have empty homes officers to bring properties into use.

“The Scottish Government has long overlooked the issue of unoccupied homes but we simply cannot ignore the fact that the number of empty homes has increased by over a fifth in the last decade. Connected to that, it’s clear that there’s uneven spread throughout Scotland with remote rural areas having the highest percentage of dwellings that are either empty or second homes.

“As such, we are again calling on the Scottish Government to work with local authorities to tackle this issue which is so clearly exacerbating Scotland’s housing crisis.”