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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

New poll shows big variations in housing preferences and awareness across Scotland


An opinion poll commissioned to coincide with the first official Scottish Housing Day has found the Scottish public knows very little about their housing options beyond buying with a mortgage and private and social renting. The poll also found significant regional variations in the types of housing tenure people are interested in considering as a future home.

The purpose of Scottish Housing Day is to raise public awareness of the latest developments in housing and the options potentially available and to acknowledge that renting is an option that can work best for many households. The aim is to give the public easier access to the resources they need to make properly informed housing decisions. Housing organisations are hosting various activities to mark Scottish Housing Day and the general public is being encouraged to get involved through participation in events and interaction with social media and a dedicated website.

For the new opinion poll, a total sample of 1,046 adults were surveyed online between the 7th and 9th September. The survey was undertaken by Progressive Partnership in conjunction with YouGov. The results are weighted to be representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

89% of all respondents said they know “nothing” or “very little” about the Home Owners’ Support Fund. 83% knew “nothing” or “very little” about mid-market rent (sometimes referred to as intermediate rent or sub-market rent). 81% said they know “nothing” or “very little” about the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme, which allows a property to be purchased with shared ownership. Those out of the total sample knowing “nothing” or “very little” were 80% in relation to supported accommodation and 71% for both Help to Buy (i.e. buying new build with shared ownership) and self-build.

The survey results also showed significant regional variations in people’s preferences when it came to housing tenures they might consider as a future home. Overall, buying with a mortgage remains the most often considered option with 41% of all people responding saying they would consider this followed by social renting (20%) and renting from a private landlord (18%). But the proportion of adults considering buying with a mortgage varied considerably between regions, being as high as 62% in the Lothians and as low as 32% in the Central region.

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme was notably popular in the West of Scotland, where 12% of respondents said they would consider this as a future housing option. There was notably strong interest in self-build in the Highlands and Islands where 28% of people said they would consider this option. Interest in social renting as a housing option ranged from 10% of those responding from the Highlands and Islands to 30% in the South of Scotland.

29% of respondents in the Lothians were interested in renting from a private landlord compared to just 8% in the Highlands and Islands. At 16%, there was also particularly strong interest in mid-market rent in the Lothians region.

Commenting on Scottish Housing Day, Kevin Stewart MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Local Government said:

“This poll shows that people could be missing out because they don’t know and understand the range of affordable housing options that are open to them.

“Scottish Housing Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of all the types of housing that are available – whether it’s equity schemes, mid-market rent, or even building your own home – we want to make sure people are making the most of the wide range of ways they can access the housing market.

“We are committed to making sure everyone has access to a warm, good quality home which is why we are investing £3 billion and have set the ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes, with 35,000 of these being for social rent, over the lifetime of this Parliament. We are also supporting people into home ownership with our £500 million Help to Buy (Scotland) and open market shared equity schemes.”

Commenting on the opinion poll results, CIH Scotland Director Annie Mauger said:

“The results of this new poll confirm that, aside from buying with a mortgage, social renting and renting from a private landlord, the Scottish public generally knows very little about the broader range of housing options potentially available to them when considering where to live.  The huge regional variation in housing preferences identified by the poll also reflects the differences in economic and environmental circumstances across Scotland, which we need to take into account when planning housing solutions.

What it also shows is that we make a mistake to assume everyone aspires to buy their own home. Indeed, renting can be the best option for many people.  We should also bear in mind that not everyone has a choice about where they live and that social housing provision continues to be vital for many people.”

Concerning Scottish Housing Day, Annie Mauger concluded:

“The low level of knowledge and awareness about different housing options identified by this poll clearly demonstrates the hugely beneficial role an annual Scottish Housing Day can play in stimulating discussion and making information and advice about housing options more widely and easily available. This is the beginning of an ongoing campaign to help people to be better equipped to choose the right tenure of housing to suit their individual circumstances.”


Notes to Editors

1. All figures from the opinion poll, unless otherwise stated, are from Progressive Partnership in conjunction with YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,046 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th and 9th September 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

2. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. Further information is available at:

3. The Scottish Housing Day initiative is being led by CIH Scotland in partnership with a range of housing sector partners including the Scottish Federation of Housing Association (SFHA), Shelter Scotland, the Tenant Participant Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), the Tenants Forums, Homes for Scotland  and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL). Further information about Scottish Housing Day is available at:

4. For further information, please contact:

Alex Bruce


Orbit Communications

91 George Street | Edinburgh | EH2 3ES

tel: 0131 603 8996 | mob: 07747 636 504 | web:


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