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Highland Council offers to buy houses to help boost accommodation options

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council is looking to purchase homes to add to its housing stock.
Highland Council is looking to purchase homes to add to its housing stock.

Highland Council is set to enter the housing market in a bid to tackle the shortage of accommodation across the region.

The pilot scheme will see the local authority issue a plea to anyone considering selling their home to approach the council with a view to buying.

The scheme aims to bolster housing stock to meet the need for additional affordable housing and provide new homes.

Applications will be accepted region-wide as bosses aim to secure the futures for families, young and old in communities across the Highlands.

It is believed that if enough housing can be acquired then it could make a significant difference to families who are in need of a home.

The council will consider purchasing properties across Highland which meet certain criteria including condition and value.

A valuation for any property of interest will then be provided but it will not require a Home Report nor for the property to be advertised.

The chairman of the council’s housing and property committee, Councillor Laurie Fraser, stressed that the purchases would be in addition to the policy of building new affordable housing, not a replacement for it.

He said: “There is a continuing need for good quality affordable housing across Highland, especially for three, four and five-bed properties and we welcome the opportunity to meet some of this need through purchase of individual properties.”

The region has been particularly badly affected by the rise in AirBnB-style lets which exacerbated a housing shortages and ultimately drives locals out of the area because they cannot afford to rent.

Many also see themselves priced out of the market because of low local wages and the higher prices those from outside the region can pay.

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the council by e-mailing housing.development@highland.gov.uk

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