A brick shortage in Scotland could be due to the Help to Buy scheme prompting a growth in home building, but the success isn’t trickling down into the supply sector of the market.
House building orders have apparently soared, which would disprove the theory that the government’s attempt to get first time buyers on the property ladder is failing to promote house building and is causing house prices to rocket.
There is now only one brick manufacturer in Scotland, whereas there were six in 2006. Many of these businesses suffered through the recession, and now there is a lack of supply, which is being made up by imports.
Raeburn Brick Limited, based in Blantyre, is the only remaining clay brick company in Scotland. Jimmy Raeburn of the company told BBC Scotland that “We had plenty of stock in the Spring of last year and then, all of a sudden, production facilities just couldn’t keep up with demand.”
The firm manages to supply only 15% of bricks needed in the country.
This would indicate that even if Help to Buy is generating house building, as some people argue (whereas others claim it is not and is creating a housing bubble), the benefits are not spreading into other areas of the market as it should be.
Bricks are being sourced elsewhere, from Belgium, Holland, and Spain, and indicate that the Help to Buy revival maybe isn’t boosting the economy as we were led to hope.